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BBC sports broadcaster officially opens University's sports grounds

Published: 
28 October 2005

One of the country's foremost sports presenters will formally open the University of Southampton's revamped outdoor sports facilities at Wide Lane in Eastleigh on Thursday 3 November. Broadcaster John Inverdale, a graduate of the University, will unveil a plaque in the new sports pavilion in a brief ceremony with Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Wakeham at 7.00pm.

The £4.3 million, 76-acre development incorporates grass pitches for American football, baseball, cricket, football, lacrosse and rugby. There are also two floodlit synthetic turf pitches and the new pavilion with 24 changing rooms, a bar and meeting rooms. The outdoor facilities complement the University's Jubilee Sports Centre at Highfield campus which opened in 2004 and provides a state-of-the-art fitness suite, sports hall and swimming pool.

The new facilities have been developed in partnership with Eastleigh Borough Council and the Football Foundation, the UK's largest sports charity. Under the terms of the partnership with Eastleigh Borough Council, the local community will also be able to use this modern, high-quality sports complex.

Laurence Barber, Head of the University's Sport and Recreation service comments: "The opening of these new outdoor facilities at Wide Lane means that Southampton's sports facilities are amongst the best of any university in the country. This is an exciting time for University sport and these first-class facilities will increase opportunities for our students and staff as well as local people to take part in a wide range of sporting activities."

Councillor Alan Broadhurst, Cabinet Member for Leisure at Eastleigh Borough Council, added: "This fantastic new sports complex helps meet the need for more high-quality playing pitches in Eastleigh as identified in the Council's Sport and Recreation Strategy. The Council is investing £1 million in this project and we are delighted to be working with the University to ensure first-class sport for our community."

Peter Lee, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, welcomed the boost for sport in the region: "This outstanding scheme is a great example of the type of work the Foundation is undertaking throughout the region and will go a long way to ensuring that Southampton students and local residents will have access to modern sports facilities."

Notes for editors

  1. If you would like to attend the photocall with John Inverdale on Thursday 3 November, please contact Sue Wilson on 023 8059 5457 to confirm and for details of the location and parking.  The plaque unveiling will take place at approximately 7.15pm.
  2. The University's £1m grant from the Football Foundation is one of the largest awards to be handed out by the charity. The Foundation is dedicated to revitalising the grass roots of the game by constructing modern football facilities and developing football as a force for social cohesion and education.  Funded by the Premier League, the Football Association, Sport England and the Government, the Foundation has already funded 1,300 projects worth over £350 million.
  3. The University's Sport and Recreation service (SportRec) offers a wide-ranging programme of sport for all levels, from beginners to elite athletes.
  4. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship.  The University has around 20,000 students and nearly 5000 staff.  Its annual turnover is in the region of £274 million.  The University has invested £2.3m in these new outdoor sports facilities.

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