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Shetland Recreational Trust invest in sport facilities for the Island

Investing in the health of the population by providing the infrastructure to enjoy a healthy island lifestyle is one of the main objectives of the Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT).

So, when the local council approved plans for the construction of a new high school across the road from the existing leisure complex, plans for phase four of Clickimin Leisure Developments were initiated.

The proximity between Clickimin Leisure Centre and the new School was intentional, with a view to sharing resources so that all sports lessons and matches could take place at the leisure complex—removing the need to build dedicated sport facilities for the school.

Although the school had previously utilised Clickimin for some PE lessons, there were concerns that transferring all sporting activities to the centre would put enormous pressure on its ability to timetable both school and public activities.

Shetland’s maritime climate—the island is infamous for wet weather and wild, stormy winters, due to its geographical location—resulted in outside pitches being out of action throughout the winter. Even in the summer months, external pitches didn’t provide the ideal training ground for the teams.

What they were missing was an indoor football and rugby facility, one that would allow teams to train in textbook conditions, all year round, whatever the weather; thus massively improving the teams’ sporting opportunities and standards.

Funding awarded from both the local council and SportScotland, it was time to start planning the new indoor training facility to complement existing facilities, which comprised a range of external pitches, squash courts, badminton courts, gyms and swimming pools.

The requirements for the new facility were straightforward: they needed a robust, cost effective, low-maintenance facility which could be built relatively quickly and, crucially, would stand the test of time against the testing island weather conditions.

Already aware of the benefits of tensile structures and on recommendations from SportScotland, members of the trust visited the new tensile training facility at Invercylde. They had also heard, through the island grapevine, that Back FC on the Isle of Lewis had recently installed a new indoor training facility, and so found it very worthwhile to speak with fellow islanders about their experiences. Both facilities had been designed and built by sports facility specialist, Collinson.

From thereon in a conventional build was dismissed. The SRT had their sights firmly set on a tensile facility, confident that this type of structure would buy them so much more for their money. Also, it was ideal for providing perfect playing conditions for indoor football and rugby.

In line with council procedures, the job was put out to tender and, based on a price and quality matrix, Lancashire-based Collinson were appointed the main contractors for the project with their Challenger™ tensile facility.

Now, it was time to really get the ball rolling. The project kicked off with a visit to Lancashire to meet the team of in-house designers, engineers, and surveyors, and start designing the new 60/40 Challenger™ indoor sports facility. 

Challenger™ comprises a steel superstructure covered with a heavy duty architectural membrane. Daylight permeates the facility through this membrane, creating a naturally light, bright environment for sport and removing the need for artificial lighting during the day. This reduces running costs, an attractive proposal for SRT as Shetland enjoys daylight until midnight during the summer months.

Every building undergoes structural calculations based on the wind and snow loadings for its proposed location. For the Clickimin facility, a heavy-duty fabric was specified to ensure the building would withstand the extreme weather conditions on the island.

Despite the challenging conditions, the Collinson installation team were onsite come rain or shine. The build went extremely smoothly and construction of the expansive 60/40 indoor football facility was completed to create an additional 2925m² space.

Internally comprising a 3G pitch, providing training facilities for football and rugby, the space can also be sectioned off with divisional nets to allow several groups to play or train simultaneously. The versatility and size of the facility has also allowed Clickimin Leisure Centre to host a wide variety of other sports in the facility such as club golf, ultimate Frisbee, athletics and softball, to name but a few! The facility also incorporates changing facilities, a viewing gallery, and reception area, allowing competitions to be effortlessly hosted.

“The success of the new facility has attracted the interest of all the sports teams on the Island. After only opening 3 months ago every sports team on the island has used the new facility, with some travelling up to an hour each way to train in the excellent facilities. 

“Coaches, parents and children alike are finding it fantastic environment to work and train in,” said David Wagstaffe of The SRT.

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