MUGA (Multi Use Games Area)

Looking to provide a safe, enclosed space for a range of sports and general play Northampton’s St James Primary School went to tender for the design and installation of a new MUGA (Multi Use Games Area).

Being a local company, total-play Ltd was keen to win the project and, having got through the initial selection process, was one of a number of suppliers to go forward to a rigorous evolution process before being appointed to take the project forward in August 2016.

A pre-construction meeting was arranged with the school where, in addition to a number of design changes being agreed, it became apparent that although funding was in place the project had yet to achieve planning consent. total-play’s experience in supporting planning bids saw the company then appointed to manage the application on the school. Following close consultation with the Local Authority and the submission of a detailed planning application, full permission was granted later in 2016; allowing works to commence on site as planned early in 2017.

With planning in place the total-play team then faced the challenges involved with undertaking major construction works in a busy school environment during winter. The first of these issues was mitigated by restrictions being placed on delivery times – for example although construction of the new MUGA was underway during term time heavy vehicle movements were planned during breaks. The winter weather, however, proved harder to predict and the team faced rain, cold and extremely high winds during the build process. Despite this, the works were completed within a 5-week timeframe.

Specification wise, the new 30m x 20m MUGA features a sand filled 15mm synthetic playing surface surrounded by perimeter fencing featuring two, 5m wide x 2m deep recesses to maximise the available playing space and ensure goals are outside of the playing area. The fence also includes 2 integral basketball units complete with back boards, hoops and nets; ensuring the MUGA can be used for a variety of sports with no need to move around and switch equipment.

Both pedestrian and double gates were installed to provide access for maintenance and emergency vehicles, and total-play also constructed a slabbed path from an existing set of steps to the new MUGA entrance to ensure the new facility remains ‘clean’ and free from contaminants such as grass and soil.

Erin Meyler, the school’s PE Lead & Sports Co-ordinator says:

“We couldn’t be happier with the new MUGA – it gets a huge amount of use not only during PE lessons but by children during breaks. It’s a real asset to the school and one of the unexpected benefits has been far fewer cuts and grazes from children falling over when playing ball games at break – the MUGA surface is a lot more forgiving than tarmac!”

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