Sports Ground Case Study

Blackrock College

Over 1000 students attend Blackrock College which is set in 56 acres of rolling parkland on the broad sweep of Dublin Bay, four miles from the city centre.

A tried and tested world class facility

The college awarded Tony Patterson Sports Grounds a €2.0 million contract to build four new natural grass rugby pitches, a new natural grass football pitch, and a synthetic cricket wicket, all with sand-based construction, on the 6 hectare/14 acre site of the original pitches. The project was not without its challenges.

Work was scheduledto take place within the busy school terms. And because the pitches not onlyserve the students, but also visitors, in the form of flocks of migrating brentgeese, who use the college as wintering grounds, part of the planningstipulations were that works could only commence after the geese departed atthe beginning of April. This would mean that surfaces would have to be sowedout and a grass sward established before the end of August. An incredibly tighttimescale.


And because the existingsite had more than 10 metres of difference in elevation from end to end. 100,000tons of earthworks material had to be moved first to create the new pitch platforms.To achieve this, two levels were created, separated by grass banks and acombination of in situ concrete and dry stack retaining walls were installed wherethe levels dictated. During this phase, running groundwater was encounteredseeping from the newly formed slopes therefore additional drainage had to be addedto divert flow away from the works areas.


6,740 meters ofnew piped drainage along with 38,700 meters of slit drains and a sand soilpitch profile were installed to create a free draining surface, allowing for vastlyimproved playing conditions during the winter months


4,000 tons ofsand and 3,100 tons of pea gravel were transported through the busy schoolenvironment, with minimal disruption, so that construction deadlines could bemet.


Banks were regradedwith drainage swales connected to the pitch drainage to form part of therequired storm-water attenuation.


A new fully automaticirrigation system with 48,000 gallon/218,212 litre concrete storage tanks and atotal of 104 new sprinkler heads was installed including a system to recycle stormwater from pitch drainage.


A re-alignment andwidening scheme for an internal roadway within the campus including drainage,street lighting, new footpaths along with carpark renovations was completedduring the school holiday. Again, this secondary deadline presented asignificant challenge which was successfully completed on time.


New covered anduncovered bike rack areas catering for 220 bikes were created in the existingparking area. For this to happen the old racks had to be temporarily reinstalledat a different location.


Architecturalstonework was undertaken at various locations throughout the site to complementthe character of existing structures.


A supply lineconnecting services was installed along the main avenue through the campusduring school term.


500 meters ofestate fencing was erected. And for the duration of the project 1Km ofprotective fencing was installed so that planning stipulations could be met toprotect existing mature trees along the perimeter of the site.


Several existingtrees had to be removed as part of the landscaping redevelopment however 50m ofrecycled timber seating was created during the process and 2288 new treesalong with 2500 bulbs were planted in accordance with the college’s wishes toincrease bio-diversity throughout the campus.


Tony PattersonSports Grounds were able to complete and deliver the entire project successfullyone week ahead of schedule.  


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