School field transformation into vibrant all year round multi-use games area

Case Study

St. Augustine’s Primary School, Gateshead

We’ve been hard at work designing, creating and installing a brand new outdoor active sports space for St. Augustine’s Catholic Primary School in Gateshead!

The area has been transformed from an underused school field into a vibrant, all year round multi-use games area.

Identifying a space and laying the foundations

As a school with no available hard standing space, we looked to identify other underused areas which could be transformed into the desired multi-sports facility. An area was identified on the existing school field, which was only used during the summer months. With a sloped surface, this space was practically unusable for the majority of the academic year due to flooding and mud.

We began excavating the area to create a level surface and installed a stone base to help with drainage and heavy rain fall. This made it suitable for use and work on installing the surface, structure and equipment could now start!

Safe, durable and realistic surface

The first step of installation involved laying the artificial grass surface and court markings. This was chosen over a wet pour rubber or concrete surface, due to a number of factors. Most notably, artificial grass offers a safe alternative to harder surfaces, with padded underlay providing a cushion for falls and trips.

In addition, as oppose to the areas’ previous natural grass surface, the new artificial grass offers all-weather reassurances, allowing children to remain active regardless of weather conditions. There’s also the added reassurance of no muddy feet or clothes; a teacher and parent’s worst nightmare!

The lifespan of this surface is also worth noting. Generally speaking, this artificial grass should last a decade, if not longer. In terms of maintenance, all that’s required is to remove any leaves, twigs or other debris and ensure the surface is brushed with a hard-bristle broom once or twice a month.

Accessibility and security

To improve accessibility, a tarmac pathway was installed to link the new active space with the rest of the school playground. This allows for the area to be accessed and used in all weather, without having to walk over the potentially muddy and wet field. It also allows for the new multi-use area to be seen as an extension of the playground, further encouraging exercise and activities.

The area is fully enclosed by 2.4m high durable mesh panels, which along with lockable gates provide significant security measures to prevent unauthorised access. These panels are made from galvanised steel and in this case are powder coated in dark green. Don’t worry though, we can powder coat panels in a number of colours in order to match your school’s colours, uniform or setting!

Multiple sports and activities, all in one place!

The biggest benefit of this multi-use games area is the number of sports and activities that can take place in just one versatile space. Attached to the mesh panelling is a mini goal that’s reinforced by a rear mesh wall, preventing those long runs to fetch the ball! This goal can be used for multiple sports, including football, handball and hockey. Above this goal is a tough and durable galvanised steel hoop which features a stainless steel net, making it ideal for games like netball and basketball.

With surrounding mesh panels made from a durable rebound material, ball games can continue at a fast pace with the ball never going out of play. This will help to improve children’s concentration levels, coordination and activeness.

Added sports graphic panels at either end of the area offer alternative games and activities. From cricket to jump tests, there’s opportunities for children of all abilities to get active and even creative, with their own games.

Benefitting children of all abilities

For children of varying abilities, this multi-use games area can spark interest in sports, improve skills and aid learning. Firstly, this area can enable children to take part in sports which might otherwise require a specific pitch, larger area or dedicated space. Sports such as hockey and basketball are two such examples where without a multi-use games area, many children might not have the opportunity to experience.

It’s proven that sports and games encourage children to interact together, in the process developing friendships, social skills and team work. Confidence can also be improved, as well as co-ordination and overall physical fitness. Through multi-use game areas it may also be possible to host competitions between schools or classes, helping to further develop interaction, social skills and competitiveness.