McArdle Sport Tec Ltd, Geo Turf Consulting & TigerTurf UK- finalists in the SAPCA Awards 2016

McArdle’s complex design & build project at Aberystwyth Town FC was nominated

The SAPCA Awards 2016 were held on the 6th February 2017 at SAPCA’s annual conference and awards dinner, we were thrilled to have one of our projects nominated for the SAPCA Excellence Award. The complex pitch design and installation project at Aberystwyth Town FC was a joint McArdle Sport Tec, GEO Turf Consulting & TigerTurf UK team undertaking.

NOMINATION: Following the increasing number of artificial pitches installed at Welsh premier league team grounds, Aberystwyth Town FC sought to install a 3G pitch of their own. With investment from the Welsh FA and working closely with Jonathan Smith, a sports surface consultant from GEO Turf Consulting, Aberystwyth Town FC were keen to find a solution that would not only provide the club with a first-class, all-weather pitch but that also carefully considered environmental and sustainability factors as the existing ground was classified as contaminated. The site location and existing ground conditions created particularly difficult challenges for the project, both technically and financially.

As such, it was decided that the Park Avenue Stadium pitch would be constructed with an Ecocept base – an innovative, sports-performance base layer which provides a host of excellent environmental and sustainable benefits to an artificial grass pitch installation compared to traditional construction methods.

The use of Ecocept meant that no off-site removal of contaminated materials was required as we stabilised the site soils to a CBR of approximately 50% for frost protection and stability, and that no imported stone had to be transported onto site – saving not only money and time but also reducing vehicle movements on and off site leading to a lower carbon footprint compared to a traditional pitch installation. This was beneficial as the town centre location can be difficult to navigate and can become easily congested.

With the proximity of the sea to the stadium, a high water table from tidal water had previously caused issues of flooding on the pitch. A waste water management programmed had to be designed to ensure the pitch could be used year-round. A soakaway was constructed, however, due to a tidal water table, which would be a problem on Spring high tides, an affordable pumped solution had to be found. New and innovative technologies in testing conditions were explored to cater for very large flows, with a pump set to discharge a minimum of 42lts/s. A series of drains were introduced to link to the new soakaway. To ensure the worst possible storm event conditions were considered, the pump station was designed to discharge to the sea in the most extreme conditions.

The decision to make use of new technologies in the construction of the new 3G pitch allowed the club to complete the project on a limited budget, increase playing hours available at the club to open the club up to the wider community, including disability sports clubs, youth and academy teams, and to create additional revenue streams. Now that fixtures will not need to be cancelled, the club has also seen an increased attendance at First Team fixtures, again bringing in additional income to the club.

After much hard work and problem solving, we managed to successfully install almost 8,000sqm of British-made artificial turf upon an innovative and bespoke base and drainage solution which had to work within a busy coastal town centre location.