Cardinal Newman College is equipped with an American-style outdoor athletic field with “Grease”-style bleachers

Cardinal Newman College students will be welcomed into the new academic year with an American-style outdoor field within the college grounds.

Plans for the outdoor play area were greenlit in May, outlining a fenced-in area and bleachers on what is currently a recreation ground. The outdoor play area was proposed in February to provide better opportunities for study-based activities and social play for college students during term time.

The college, in Preston, enrolls thousands of students each academic year. Indoor sports facilities with a newly fitted gym are already planned for college students, but plans for the playground indicate that the new facilities will be the only all-weather open space that students can use to outdoor studies or breaks. out of activity.

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The playground land currently includes rest areas in the form of picnic tables, paths and steps from the college buildings, as well as a brick surface water culvert from the Victorian era which carries the Swill Stream. The plans state that this land is the only suitable land that can be used for the playground.

The Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) should be used from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday. As the college operates via an academic calendar, the MUGA can be used during school terms and throughout the year, except on public holidays.

Bleachers line the side of the fenced sports field

No floodlights were planned to be installed in the plans, so any activity during the winter months should naturally cease at dusk. Work is due to start on June 16 and should be finished in time for September, ready for the new influx of students and the returning 13-year-old.

The plans outline the work to be carried out to create the sports field which includes fencing lining the perimeter of MUGA, made from double bar wire mesh panels. The MUGA playing surface will be a green coated polymer finish and the bleacher seats will be a modular aluminum construction. Mature trees flank the southern edge of the development site while smaller, young trees are spaced to the north side of the MUGA seating and bleacher development

The majority of the older trees on site are covered by a Tree Preservation Order served in 1994. To prepare the foundations for MUGA, the existing surfaces will need to be excavated to approximately 330mm below finished levels.

All of the works will be contained within the curtilage of the College, with MUGA being developed to the south-east of the site over an existing paved seating area. The area will not be accessible to the whole community.

A Newman College spokesperson said: “The new sports area will be a fantastic addition to the College’s already excellent facilities. It will provide additional space for sports teams and academies, as well as A-level and BTEC student sports. It will also provide additional social and recreational space for students and prove to be a useful resource in encouraging more students to be active, especially after the pandemic.

“As a college, we are always looking for ways to improve the student experience, which includes finding ways to improve facilities and our offering, which was the driving force behind the decision. That will be what is called a MUGA – Multi -Use play area, with a polymer surface that is a versatile surface that can be used for a variety of purposes.

“It will include bleachers for spectators and socializing, netball posts, five-a-side football goals and basketball nets. We hope the versatility of the space will allow a wide range of students to use the space for many different activities other than sports including program use, Newman Active, social use, tournaments and we will operate an open access policy meaning it will be available for a ad hoc use when not already reserved.”

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