Job Done: Draining and levelling school sports pitches

Project Improving school sports pitches in Surrey
Client King's College School
Contractor Speedcut Contractors

A school sports site located on a clay floodplain required complete drainage and levelling to allow it to be playable after bad weather.

At the 9.7ha King's College School site in Surrey, Speedcut Contractors of Oxford carried out work on three football pitches and moved a cricket square.

The team carried out the project over six weeks and also built a 52,000cu m water tank to hold extracted water from a nearby brook to irrigate the pitches. "The site is on a floodplain," said deputy head groundsman Miguel Pimenta, who has been at the school for eight years. "Being on clay surfaces means they became unplayable after heavy rain."

Speedcut Contractors laser-levelled using a TopCon laser-guided Caterpillar D6, and drainage was carried out with a Mastenbroek trencher and pipe-layer. Then the pitches were cultivated and seeded with Barenbrug BAR7 ryegrass mixture.

Speedcut contracts manager Barry Pace said: "This was a challenging job because the timescale was very tight." The surfaces need to be well-established by the first week of September, when the first games are scheduled.

Earlier this month, Pimenta carried out the first cylinder cut of the grass and applied a high-nitrogen fertiliser. In October he will carry out sand grooving of the pitches during half term.

Next year, a new pavilion is to replace the current building, making the whole site a showpiece sporting centre.

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