By Ella Jerman
As the Michaelmas term nears its end, the first phase of the £35 million plan to develop Durham University’s sports facilities is almost complete.
The new rubber crumb (3G) sports pitch based in the middle of the existing athletics track was handed back to the University on Friday 10th November. The pitch has already been used by over 900 students and 350 community users.
Likewise, the first resurfaced hockey pitch was handed back to the University on Thursday 23rd November, although reconstruction work on the second water-based hockey pitch is yet to be completed. Meanwhile, improvements to the existing car park facilities and pedestrian access into and within the site are due for completion in January 2018.
With phase one of the redevelopment almost complete, the next stage of the programme is still subject to a separate planning application and public consultation. The University hopes to obtain planning permission from the local authority to begin work on the indoor facilities by early 2018.
This phase will include the construction of an indoor sports hall, a new state of the art cricket facility, indoor tennis and squash courts and a new fitness suite. Further student consultation on the indoor facilities will be undertaken in early 2018.
Students are always highly encouraged to put forward their own ideas on how facilities at the Maiden Castle sports park can be improved, as the delivery of new facilities at Maiden Castle is a part of the University’s strategy to improve the wider student experience.
However, the University has not only set itself the objective to increase overall student participation rates in sport from 75 to 80 percent, but also to provide additional capacity to cater for the 2,000 residents of north-east England who use the existing facilities on a weekly basis.
Owen Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) and Project Sponsor, is thrilled with the progress made so far and believes the redevelopment at Maiden Castle will only continue to enhance the sporting experience of Durham University students, staff and members of the local community alike.
He said: “It has been exciting to see some of the plans come to life. The new pitch and resurfaced pitch have already changed the look and feel of Maiden Castle and they provide an insight into the transformative nature of the University’s investment in our sporting facilities.”
Photograph: Durham University