Students at leading Scottish independent school, Strathallan, have always been fortunate with the range of sports facilities available, with a wealth of outdoor pitches, tennis courts and netball courts along with an indoor hall and gym to choose from.
The existing indoor sports hall and gym were becoming dated and as the number of Strathallan pupils had increased, the existing indoor facilities couldn’t accommodate enough students for indoor training when outdoor PE lessons were not an option. Even with the large selection of outdoor courts and pitches available with regular winter temperatures of below freezing in the Perthshire countryside, harsh, icy conditions often rendered these unusable.
Changing needs, combined with deteriorating summer climates, marked the turning point for the school to begin re-evaluating their on site facilities and the decision was taken to look at the feasibility of a new indoor facility. With Strathallan School holding the titles for the UK Schools’ Tennis champions in the boys, girls and mixed doubles categories, a major focus for the new facility was to improve year round training for these teams who previously had to make time-consuming trips to other non-school facilities for indoor training.
• Strathallan school required a modern, year round training facility
• Tensile structure created a clear span space, within budget
• New facility is 4 and a half times bigger than schools old sports hall
• Divisional netting allows 6 teams to train independently
Anthony Glasgow, Bursar at the school began researching the different building systems available and quickly established that with the available budget a traditional structure would not create the space they needed, so the focus turned to a tensile structure which could deliver exactly what the school wanted within their budget. The school visited a number of tensile structures, one being Soccer World in Dundee which had been built by Collinson a few years earlier. The visit highlighted the superior quality of the facility along with an excellent level of robust detailing; the team from Strathallan came away confident that Collinson were the market leader of Tensile structures and appointed them as main contractors for the design and build of their sports facility.
The site earmarked for the new facility meant relinquishing one of the best grass hockey pitches in the area so the management team needed to be confident that the new indoor facility would bring as much, if not more value to the schools sports facilities.
The design team at Collinson worked with the school to achieve the optimum layout and incorporate all the key requirements and the old hockey pitch is now the proud home to a 3 court Challenger structure, with sports surfaces marked out for 3 full size tennis and netball courts, a massive four and a half times bigger than the schools old indoor facility.
The Challenger building system is renowned for its efficiency, the clear span; steel superstructure is covered with a tensioned PVC membrane, requires minimal foundations and can be quickly erected. The school opted for a white roof which allows light to permeate the building, flooding the courts with natural light, giving the effect of playing outdoors without the weather implications whilst also making savings on energy bills.
Internally the playing area has been specifically designed in three sections giving the school versatility to use different areas of the facility at the same time for various sports which ultimately can allow 6 teams to take part in a different skills sessions should the weather stop outdoor play.