Rupert House School transforms sports pitch

We take a look at how sports turf specialist Total Play helped Rupert House School bring its vision for a new multi-use sports pitch (MUGA) to reality

With an ageing split-level macadam play area no longer fit for purpose, Henley-on-Thames prep school Rupert House was keen to maximise the potential of the space; converting it into a new MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) synthetic sports pitch suitable for a range of sports and general play.

Having worked with numerous leading independent schools to design and construct both MUGA and ECB-approved artificial cricket pitch facilities, total-play met several times on site with artificial pitch expert and project manager Neil Boddington of Boddingtons Planning to refine the school’s requirements. Several proposals were discussed, with the cost-effective option of converting the existing macadam surface favoured over the installation of a completely new pitch.

With the surface design agreed, work started on site in the school summer holidays; with total-play’s in-house groundworks team undertaking all works. The first task was to create new vehicle access off an adjacent road to allow emergency access to the new facility, before the site works commenced. Virgin quarried aggregate was then imported and the area re-graded using laser guided plant and machinery to bring the lower plateau to the same level as the top plateau. With the site level, a number of sunken sockets were removed from the surface and a new land drain installed before the creation of a concrete haunch-secured kerb perimeter around the entire playing surface.

Delays in the delivery of materials saw the project continue into the September term, with total-play mitigating risk to pupils and staff through the erection of metal site fencing along the school side of the site and the use of a banksman for all deliveries. A pre-fabricated shock pad was fitted over the entire area before the installation of a high-quality Tiger Turf Evolution Excel sand-dressed playing surface – complete with markings for hockey, football, netball and tennis.

The school are delighted with the outcome as a significant improvement in the school sports facilities, which was recently opened by a GB hockey player

A robust, twin-bar 868 rebound fence was erected around the new sports pitch at varying heights – 3m on two sides for security, with a 2m fence protecting the playground adjacent and leading to a 1.5m high fence on the school side to allow parents clear views of the matches, with two double gates completing the fencing specification for access for players and maintenance machinery. The new facility was finished with specialist fence fixed, fully retractable hockey goals, a retractable net across the line of play enabling the pitch to be split into different smaller areas to allow several groups to utilise it simultaneously, and the provision of wheeled mini-soccer football goals.

Neil Boddington says: “I was pleased with my decision to appoint Total Play.  They were personable, proactive with their suggestions and when on site cracked on to complete inside the contract period. They were adaptable and helpful as the design changed a little whilst on site due to a problem with a wall. The school are delighted with the outcome as a significant improvement in the school sports facilities, which was recently opened by a GB hockey player.”

To discuss how Total Play could help bring your vision for a new artificial sports surface to reality, contact, call 01604 864575 or visit

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