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A how-to guide for schools procuring new sports facilities

Figuring out how to obtain a new sports facility can be a little difficult for schools if you don’t know what to do, so we’re here to help you with all the tricky bits of the process that can be confusing.

There may be many different reasons why you are considering getting a new sports facility; such as enhancing the P.E. learning environment, boosting the prestige of the school and even generating an income stream outside of school hours. But before you jump straight into buying a brand new facility, there are a few things to consider first. Could an existing facility be improved or converted? Could you link up with a local sports club/leisure centre? Could you share resources with another school? By thinking about all these options before you buy, your school could save money as there wouldn’t be a need for a brand new facility.

So, if you decide that your school does need a new facility, what happens next? The next thing to do is to identify these 3 things;

  • What sports will the facility predominantly be used for?
  • What level of competition will be played on the facility?
  • How often/intensively will the facility be used?

Once these questions have been answered, our team can help you select the best surface type for your school. You may also like to use our online synthetic grass selector tool. Other factors to consider during the design stage include facility size, playing lines, fencing/floodlighting, planning considerations, along with existing ground conditions. 

If you’re worrying about how you can fund your new facility there are plenty of options, from seeking local authority support, to school fundraising schemes or applying for external grants. There are a range of grant sources including Football Foundation and Sport England, amongst others. For a full list of grant sources follow the link or contact your local County Sport Partnership. If you are struggling to raise funds we can also offer Facility Finance Options. Furthermore, our Pitch Maximisation Scheme enables an existing pitch to be refurbished at no cost to your school! To find out more information just follow the links.

In terms of longevity, the lifespan of your new facility will depend on how well you look after it and the intensity of usage. You will help to prolong the life of your facility by adopting the correct maintenance regime. Whether your maintenance teams are in-house or external, it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

With over 35 years experience of working within the education sector, our facilities have a proven track-record for performance and longevity. Over the past 5 years alone, Thornton Sports have guided over 160 educational establishments through sports surfacing projects. To seek advice or guidance for your project, contact us on 01282 777345 or email 

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