26th November 2019 — Pupils and members of the local community alike have been making the most of a new all-weather sports surface at Bolton School since it opened at the start of September.
Work began on the synthetic turf pitch (stp) development on 1 April at a cost of just over £1m and the facility, which will be used primarily for lacrosse and hockey, was completed during the school’s summer holidays and looks spectacular.
The Leverhulme Pavilion site on Chorley New Road is now open for school and community usage. The update to facilities includes improved spectator areas, separate shelters for visiting teams, floodlighting and increased parking. Notts Sport Ltd have provided design consultancy expertise and Cleveland Land Services Ltd laid the all-weather surface.
Sharing the site with the local community was included in plans submitted to the Council. Bolton Hockey Club will use it as their base, the National Hockey Foundation will contribute a grant of £50,000 as they seek to fulfil their mission of improving hockey at youth and community level and England Hockey will also be partners in running the facility. Local schools will receive 100 hours per annum of free usage and there will be 80 hours of half price availability for local junior hockey. During most school days, the surface will be used by Bolton School PE teachers for a variety of sporting purposes – there is space, for example, for 12 tennis courts. The facility will also be hired out in the early evenings and at weekends and holiday periods through BSS Leisure. Looking to the future, the School hopes to develop the site further by investing in the Leverhulme Pavilion changing facilities and meeting rooms.
Philip Britton, Headmaster of the Boys’ Division, reflected: “Plans were first suggested for an all-weather surface 20 years ago, so to have one now to catalyse the next steps in our success for boys’ hockey is wonderful news. Finally, home games will actually be at home! However, what is better now than it would have been back then has been the opportunity to plan the school facility with the local club and be part of town-wide plans for facilities development. We hope that the facility will make just as much difference to hockey in Bolton as it will to hockey at Bolton School.”
Girls’ Division Headmistress Sue Hincks said: “I am delighted that the girls will have the opportunity to play lacrosse on an artificial pitch which means that there will be no risk of our playing surface turning to mud on wet days. The artificial grass will allow heavier use than our current playing surfaces as there is no need for recovery time between games. The girls will also benefit from the consistency of the surface which will not change from day to day.”