White Horse Contractors (WHC), the specialist sports contracting company with a wide range of experience in construction, drainage and renovation services for sport and leisure facilities throughout the UK has successfully converted 12 acres of steeply sloping, rough, agricultural land into an array of top level artificial and natural sports pitches for use by the 880 pupils of Danes Hill Preparatory School in Surrey.
As part of the negotiation for a new lease arrangement with Crown Estates, the school managed to secure land bordering the school which was formerly in agricultural use. This piece of land was large enough to effectively double the sports facilities available to the school. Prior to the successful development of this scheme, the school had insufficient suitable sports facilities for all of its pupils all of the time.
The school invited WHC to tender for the project following the successful development of top class pitches at Chelsea Football Club’s training ground in neighbouring Cobham. In addition to their strong reputation and experience, WHC were selected for the project because they both submitted the most competitive tender and, thanks to their high level of plant facilities, WHC had the ability to commence and complete the project well before other contractors.
The time frame was a key consideration as it was essential for the school to get the artificial pitch ready for use for the new academic year. The scheme would require careful and detailed project management to ensure that there was no disruption to the school’s day-to-day activities. In addition to its expertise in sports surface construction and drainage, WHC also offered a wealth of specialist expertise and knowledge together with a team of experienced in-house surveyors, scheme designers and project managers, who worked with the school on the scheme. The school were also impressed that the WHC team have particularly strong environmental credentials, placing great importance on delivering projects which reduce the impact on the environment and provide aesthetic enhancement.
The £1.4m scheme includes the following facilities:
- Full-size artificial sports pitch suitable for hockey, football and a range of other sports, constructed using a Tiger Turf Evolution carpet, over a 15mm shock pad, 60mm porous tarmac and 300mm of Type 1 sub base.
- Five natural turf sports pitches suitable for rugby and football, constructed with 250mm of screened site topsoil ameliorated with 50mm of sand and 50mm of compost, full sub surface drainage at 5m centres and seeded with an A20 grass mix.
- Two cricket pitches, with wickets constructed with 125mm of base loam and 75mm of cricket loam both from Surrey Loams and seeded with an A5 grass mix.
- Full size sand-dressed artificial sports pitch suitable for hockey, football and a range of other sports.
- Five natural turf sports pitches, suitable for rugby, football and cricket
Firstly the steeply sloping agricultural land was converted into four distinct plateaus to accommodate the new sports pitches. This involved a large scale earth-moving operation.
WHC worked closely with the school and the project architects to minimise the amount of materials taken off site. This was achieved by balancing the ‘cut and fill’ earthworks, the construction of a number of complex retaining walls and creating a range of innovative landscaping solutions including the creation of coaching and viewing banks adjacent to the new sporting facilities.
Once the plateaus were all completed, the artificial pitch was laid, using a Tiger Turf, sand dressed Evolution product (approx 102m x 60m) laid on a 15mm in situ shockpad which was constructed on an engineered Macadam base. Everything was completed in time, ready for the children to use at the start of their new year.
James Coney of WHC said. “White Horse Contractors are delighted to have been an integral part of this success story. WHC has significant experience in successfully delivering a range of specialist projects including: environmental works, water engineering, pipeline and agriculture, equestrian facilities and golf courses.’ ‘Our turnkey design, construction and drainage of natural and artificial sports pitches made WHC the ideal partner for Danes Hill School in the fulfilment of this project.’ ‘We hope that the resulting pitches are the foundation of many sporting achievements, possibly future Olympians.