QPR Academy invest in new Collinson AirDome
The installation of a new AirDome for the Queens Park Rangers Football Academy is testament to the clubs commitment to investment in upcoming football talent as well as strengthening its activity with the local community. Offering an advanced football development and education programme as well as providing the network, coaching and health and lifestyle advice the QPR Academy help to pave the way for a successful career in football.
Restricted use of indoor facilities meant that training sessions for the Academy programmes previously used various sites to train; the 1st teams training facilities at QPR’s Imperial College ground along with pitches at Cranford Community College however changes in the Football Association’s EPPP Programme; a long-term strategy designed to advance Premier League Youth Development, meant that to fully comply with regulations, a dedicated indoor facility was a requirement for all youth academies.
With a close relationship that had been developed with Cranford College over the years, and QPR’s Community Trust ethos focusing on engaging and supporting local communities the obvious place to locate the AirDome was on the College campus, a mutually beneficial agreement all-round. An old AstroTurf pitch was earmarked for the development and research into suitable structures began. It became clear early on in the project that an AirDome was the obvious solution for various reasons; the footprint of the old pitch was restrictive to the installation of traditional structures, the planners were happy with the proposal and as an added bonus an AirDome was inexpensive compared to other types of structures.
Mark Donnelly, QPR Chief Operating Officer, had been introduced to Lancashire based Collinson plc through the club’s wider training ground project Impressed with their professional approach and a competitive price on the Academy’s AirDome, Collinson were awarded the contract as principal contractor.
The new AirDome covers 4,680sq meters of clear span space, housing a 90m x 53m 3G football pitch with a 3m roll off area. The translucent double skin membrane allows sun light to permeate into the facility to create a light, airy playing environment whilst the innovative design of integral air pockets provide insulation together making combined savings on heating and lighting costs. For training and community use to continue into the evening, additional lighting systems allow play after dark.
With minimal groundworks required onsite and a rapid deployment time, after only 15 weeks from placing the order, QPR Academy are now getting ready to train in their own dedicated facility, Mark added “From order to completion the project has run like clockwork, on any project a competent, reliable partner is key to its success and our recent dome project was no exception, we found an excellent partner in Collinson. We formed a great working relationship; they were professional and efficient throughout, keeping us up to date with progress and dealing with any issues promptly and professionally. Importantly the project was delivered within the agreed timescale and we would not hesitate in recommending them to others, in fact we are already planning our next project with them.”
Mark continued “The AirDome is a great coaching environment, during the harsh winter it will allow our training sessions to continue, helping to develop and progress players skills from an early age”
As part of the Clubs Community Trust Initiative the AirDome will be available for the use of college and the wider community. For the College, the installation of the AirDome on their campus will allow football and rugby training to carry on indoors whatever the weather, a huge bonus for sports which have previously had limited indoor space often resulting in the cancellation of games in our great British weather conditions! Kevin Prunty Executive Headteacher at Cranford Community College said “ The school is delighted with the latest addition to our excellent school and community facilities. The Cranford SuperDome is an amazing structure which will inspire all who use it. Not only is this a welcome addition to Hounslow’s sports facilities but we are investigating its use for a range of events and activities.’