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New synthetic turf hockey pitch at Curro Midrand

The lockdown measures the past year put a halt to most sporting codes, but this break in play did give school administrators the time to improve facilities and complete planned installations. Curro Midrand Independent School, located in Gauteng’s Midrand area, was one such institution, taking the opportunity to install an FIH National Specification synthetic turf hockey pitch and associated works at the school.

This is the second such installation at a Curro school in the past year, with Curro Helderwyk having installed a similar pitch at their Brakpan location at the start of 2020. Phillip Prinsloo, Sales Manager for Turftech, said schools looking to enhance their sports’ facilities had maximised the time of online learning to get ready for the resurgence of competitive sports.

“Sport is such an important part of the holistic schooling offered in South Africa, and the competitive nature of our schools’ sports means that only the best surfaces are being sought,” explained Prinsloo. “This is why so many schools, like Curro Midrand, are opting for Turftech’s synthetic sports surfaces which are designed by our partners, Rhino-Turf. The surface allows pupils to practice for longer hours and, in terms of hockey, there is much more consistency in ball roll and play, thereby speeding up the game.”

KLS Consulting Engineers (Primary Consulting Engineers to Curro Holdings Ltd) received the design brief from Curro Holdings to design and implement the construction of the synthetic turf hockey field.  The project was broken up into two phases, the first of which was the bulk earthworks phase where the field platform was constructed, including the new pavilion and primary stormwater drainage system. The second phase consisted of the specialist construction of the synthetic turf hockey field and ancillary works where Turftech was brought in to construct the 5 747m2 hockey pitch, surrounding walkways, fencing system and customised handrails for enhanced spectator safety.

The synthetic turf system installed by Turftech’s inhouse installer and Operations Manager, Wayne Reed, and consisted of Rhino-Turf HF18 synthetic sand-dressed turf on a 15mm Insitu E-layer, with the team also installing drainage kerbing, paving and fencing, as well as improving the hockey pitch surrounds with newly-planted grass, trees and flower beds.

“The existing sports fields at Curro Midrand were developed for soccer and rugby and they weren’t large or level enough to cater to the specific needs of hockey,” explained Colston Veater, Executive Head of Curro Midrand. “With hockey a very popular sport in the area, we were looking to install a synthetic turf that could offer our pupils and visiting schools a more sophisticated game than can be played on grass.”

He said that, with regulations now allowing for the resumption of sports’ codes, the pupils are excited to be practising on the quality pitch and are looking forward to more competitive games: “Having a synthetic turf better positions the school to attract well-rounded pupils, while improving the standard of our school facilities. With the latest installation, we’re now able to host events and tournaments so there’s no need for long-distance travel.”

The Turftech installation is an FIH National Specification (International Hockey Federation)-certified hockey field that has many benefits, including:

  • · A much smoother playing surface for enhanced ball control;
  • · A dedicated space for hockey practice, skills and games;
  • · The provision of year-round sports’ practice; and
  • · A fast-paced game on a quality playing surface.

In addition to the superior playing surface and enhanced aesthetics of the product, schools benefit from long-term cost savings as well. Unlike traditional synthetic turf sports fields, the Turftech multi-sports facility does not have to be resurfaced every two to three years, with the surface only needing upgrading every 8 to 10 years. It also allows schools to accommodate multiple sporting codes while saving on space and enhancing property value.

Prinsloo said that another reason schools are looking to invest in Turftech sports facilities is the environmental benefit, particularly against the backdrop of climate change:

“The synthetic turf hockey pitch is the most water-wise option, which is particularly vital with water becoming such a scarce commodity. It will retain its vibrant aesthetic and condition with very little maintenance, even with the high-traffic of ongoing sports’ practices and games.”

Turftech is a leader in the construction, development and maintenance of natural and synthetic turf technology, with products successfully installed throughout South Africa. With access to full World Rugby, FIFA and FIH accreditations, synthetic surfaces are becoming a preferred choice across all professional, semi-professional, schools’ and social club levels.