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Strathallan School

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.

However, by 2015 their existing indoor facilities were growing dated and, as the number of Strathallan pupils had increased, they could no longer 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 the 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 onsite facilities. 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 the improvement of year round training for these teams, whose indoor training needs had previously necessitated time-consuming trips to other non-school facilities.

Strathallan School

  • Strathallan School required a modern, year round training facility
  • A tensile structure created a clear span space, within budget
  • The new facility is 4 and a half times bigger than the school’s old sports hall
  • Divisional netting allows 6 teams to train independently

Anthony Glasgow, Bursar, 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 without exceeding 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, and the team from Strathallan came away confident that Collinson was the market leader in tensile structures.

In a natural next step, they appointed Collinson as main contractor for the design and build of their new 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 school’s sports facilities.

Working with the school, the design team at Collinson strove to achieve the optimum layout and incorporate all the school’s key requirements. Now, the old hockey pitch is the proud home to a three-court Challenger structure, with sports surfaces marked out for three full-size tennis and netball courts—a massive four-and-a-half times bigger than the school’s 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 and 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 the versatility to use different areas of the facility at the same time for various sports; which, ultimately, can allow six teams to take part in different skills sessions should the weather stop outdoor play.

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