A TOP performing Yorkshire school’s reputation for sporting excellence is to be given a massive boost with a new £1m world-class, purpose-built floodlit pitch.
After several years of planning, work has now begun on the new 3G ‘third generation’ all-weather artificial grass surface at Ripon Grammar School, which will also benefit the wider community of the city.
Students will begin playing on this exciting new addition to their school – which, alongside a newly-laid grass pitch and long jump, is being fully-funded by a property developer – in the autumn term.
Headmaster Jonathan Webb said this latest extension to the school’s first-class sports facilities was an amazing asset which would help further enhance the development of the next generation of sporting stars.
Ripon Grammar School has built a regional reputation for sporting success, with girls’ hockey and netball teams recently winning national titles and two rugby teams being crowned Yorkshire champions.
Mr Webb added: “The new 3G pitch will make a huge difference to the amount of time students get to train and play outdoors in future as the top-quality playing surface performs well even in the most challenging weather conditions in the muddy depths of winter.”
The new pitch will be used for a wide variety of sports including lacrosse, rounders and athletics training, as well as for girls’ and boys’ rugby and football.
“It is a major and exciting addition to the school’s sporting facilities and estate and its community use will also make it a major addition for the city of Ripon,” said Mr Webb.
The development encompasses a full-size FIFA-compliant football pitch and three cross-width seven-a-side football pitches, all with markings and goals on wheels.
It will also provide a full-size World Rugby-compliant artificial pitch, with markings and rugby posts. As part of the new works, contractors are re-levelling and re-siting the running track and 1st XV grass rugby pitch, as well as installing drainage.
Mr Webb added that discussions with all those involved in developing the final plans had been long and complex, due to the size and nature of the construction: “The school has endeavoured to ensure that what we end up with is the best possible outcome for students.”
The 3G pitch’s durable, all-weather surface, with porous layers which let water drain through easily, can be played on for 80 hours a week, as opposed to the five hours a week natural grass pitches can withstand.
It will be used solely by the school up to 5.30pm but will be available for public hire in the evenings, weekends and holidays. The new facility will also serve three partner clubs, Ripon RUFC, Ripon City AFC and Ripon City Panthers JFC, and two illuminated footpaths will link the 3G pitch with the sports hall and car park for student, parent and public access.
Persimmon Homes agreed to fund the sporting facility – which will be part-constructed on the Memorial Field owned by the school’s Old Riponians alumni society – as part of the planning requirements for a new housing development in the city.
*RGS Year 5 Open Evening (for Sept 2020 intake) is on June 24, 5.30pm.
*Ripon Grammar School is Yorkshire’s only state boarding school and has been named the North’s top state school by The Sunday Times for the sixth year running. It is in the top 2% of state schools in the UK for pupil progress from age 11-16.