Fylde MP Mark Menzies cuts the ribbon on new 3G surface at UCLan Sports Arena
A new state-of-the-art sports facility for students and the community has been officially opened at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Fylde MP Mark Menzies met students and staff on a tour of the multi-million pound UCLan Sports Arena and cut the ribbon to celebrate the official opening of the 3G artificial sports pitch.
Mr Menzies, whose constituency covers UCLan’s Cottam based sports facility and neighbouring Westleigh House, said: “The new Evolution playing surface is incredible - an artificial pitch that can host sports including rugby, football and American football.
“The entire sports campus is state-of-the-art and a superb centre which I am delighted the local community is taking advantage of; more than 90 percent of users are not students, which means residents are benefiting from world-class professional standard facilities.”
In addition to watching a football match between two Students’ Union League teams on the new pitch, Mr Menzies visited the cycling track, the athletics arena, the netball pitches, and he viewed the wide range of grass and all-weather pitches. He also met Preston North End Academy Manager Nick Harrison as the team’s youth squads are based at the Arena.
The community groups seamlessly fit into place alongside the academic and recreational use of students as highlighted by the fact that 33,000 student visits to USA were recorded during the last academic year.
Joel Arber, UCLan Pro Vice-Chancellor of External Relations, said: “We were delighted Mark Menzies MP accepted our invitation to visit our fantastic sports arena and officially open the new state-of-the-art pitch.
“It was great to see he was very interested and impressed with the role we play within the surrounding community. Nearly 80 teams and organisations use the facilities for a variety of sporting activities and 90 percent of the people who use the Arena are members of the local community. The community groups seamlessly fit into place alongside the academic and recreational use of students as highlighted by the fact that 33,000 student visits to USA were recorded during the last academic year.”
The Evolution XQ 3G surface, which is FIFA two star and World Rugby 22 accredited, consists of artificial grass within a rubber crumb and shock pad. The £700,000 development has also seen the creation of a new spectator area, dug outs, recessed goals and floodlights.
Saul Moores, a first-year business management student, is one of the players in the Students’ Union League. He and his teammates have been using the pitch for the last four months and he said: “We play our matches at the Arena every Wednesday and everybody wants to be put on the new pitch. It is the pitch to play on because it’s great underfoot, the ball runs true and it’s like playing on a professional grass pitch but without the mud.”
Mark Menzies MP on a tour of the UCLan Sports Arena
This is all about giving our students the best experience possible. Over the years their matches have been affected by the weather but this new 3G surface ensures all games can be fulfilled.
Andy Coverdale, UCLan’s Business Services Manager, added: “This excellent new pitch allows football, both codes of rugby and American football to be played on the one surface for up to 60 hours a week. That’s nearly 10 times more games than we used to be able to accommodate on a grass pitch.
“This is all about giving our students the best experience possible. Over the years their matches have been affected by the weather but this new 3G surface ensures all games can be fulfilled and those players are able to compete on a world-class playing surface.”