With work on track to open Haywards Heath College in September, a further investment is being made by the Chichester College Group (CCG) to upgrade the adjacent playing field.
The work will create an improved facility that can be used by college students as well as pupils from Harlands Primary School and the wider community.
The playing field has been an underutilised resource due to the lack of sufficient drainage, resulting in the area being waterlogged during the winter months.
Work will begin this month to upgrade the drainage, allowing greater use of the field for sports activities throughout the year. Once completed, the field will be ready to use from Spring 2021.
It will be home to a full-size rugby and football pitch, a smaller pitch, and cricket pitch with new artificial wicket.
This new facility will offer the first year of college students the opportunity to participate in sports, either as part of their A-level course, as a member of a college sport academies or for a Duke of Edinburgh qualification.
Nearby Harlands Primary School will continue to have access to the playing field, giving their pupils the chance to participate in cricket, football, rugby, sports days and cross-country events.
Ben Frier, Vice Principal at Haywards Heath College, said: “We are very keen that the land is used for as much sport as possible, both for the college and for Harlands Primary School, as developing close links with our local community and schools is of the utmost importance to us.
“I love the idea of our students working with the children of Harlands Primary School as role models, whether that be in developing coaching, leadership and teambuilding skills, or gaining work experience; something I think will be of great value to all involved.
“We are really excited by the opportunities that may present themselves, from sharing the space with Harlands to embedding the college as part of the wider broader community.”
David McKeown-Webster, (Acting) Headteacher at Harlands Primary School, added: “Generations of Harlands pupils have benefited hugely from the shared playing field over the years, and we are thrilled that the new owners of the college are investing in the facility to make these improvements. “We very much look forward to seeing our children enjoy them, alongside the college students and the wider community."
Future plans at the college will include ensuring the community is able to use the college’s theatre, sports hall and playing field. An option to develop a Forest School on the playing field is also being considered.
The college will open to its newly recruited staff from the beginning of August, with students due to arrive for their enrolment and induction from Monday 7 September.