The WA State Football Centre stands as a testament to the dedication and passion for football in Western Australia. This project aimed to create an international-class facility that meets FIFA standards and serves as a hub for elite athletes and community players.
The grand vision behind the WA State Football Centre
The WA State Football Centre project had an ambitious scope that extended beyond the construction of two rectangular pitches. Its planning was meticulous, with a clear vision of becoming a centre of excellence for football in the region. The key objectives of this project included:
- Creating elite playing surfaces: the primary goal was to build elite-class football pitches that meet FIFA requirements, rivalling the quality of surfaces of the main stadia venues such as Optus Stadium, HBF Park, Allianz Stadium and AAMI Park.
- Enhancing community access: while designed to cater to elite athletes, the project also aimed to provide community players access to a diverse range of facilities, from full-sized hybrid turf grass to smaller-sized synthetic pitches.
- Sustainability: sustainability was a paramount consideration, from water sourcing (bore water) to reusing existing growing medium materials, reducing the need for importing large volumes of sand.
The short-term benefits were immediately evident as the pitches became operational in July 2023, meeting the FIFA standards. Long-term advantages include nurturing local football talent, promoting the sport, and contributing to the state's football ecosystem.
In terms of design, the WA State Football Centre was driven by a commitment to creating elite surfaces. The hybrid turf system is composed of the HG Sports Turf Hero products, ensuring optimal playing conditions. One unique aspect was the slight elongation of the senior pitch, allowing for north-south movement of goal locations to distribute wear evenly.
Crafting elite surfaces
The scope of work for this project encompassed a range of components, including:
- Field of Play system: perched water table profile with a hybrid turf grass system.
- The profile consisted of the following components: variable depth gravel layer with a network of 450,300 and 170mm megaflo pipes, 300mm site won rootzone sand and a combination of HG Sports HERO hybrid grass (40mm), wintergreen couch grass and oversewn with Barenbrug Striker Gold ryegrass blend. A FIFA-compliant synthetic collar was installed along the sides of each pitch.
- Irrigation system: a tailored irrigation system was designed and constructed, utilising bore water, which required the installation of new aquifer bores. Key features of the system included:
- Five GRUNDFOS MS-4000 shrouded submersible bore pumps.
- Water meter compliant with Department of Water and Environmental Regulations and AS3565 or AS3778.
- Water treatment system to provide 12L/sec with an upstream pressure of 300kPa and a maximum residual level of iron in the water delivered to the storage tank is 0.3mg/L (ppm).
- Colorbond steel with reinforced concrete-based irrigation pump station structure.
- 292 kilolitre water storage tank.
- Four GRUNDFOS Hydro Multi-E model 2CRE15-8, 7.5kW three-phase multistage pumps with motors incorporating an integral variable frequency (speed) drive operating at up to 60Hz (3600RPM) - Refer Figure 2.
- Rainbird 8005 part and full circle rotors have been installed in each field with 3 zones of 6 rotors per zone. Field #1 and #2 have different spacings owing to their different dimensions - Refer to Figure 1 below.
- Aquaflex soil moisture sensors were installed in each field.
Figure 1 – Pich 1 Irrigation system layout.
Figure 2 – GRUNDFOS multistage pumps installed in pump station.
Bringing the WA State Football Centre to life
Broad Construction engaged HG Turf Group to deliver the field of play components due to the site also consisting of the construction of pavilions, car parking, fencing and other associated elements. The delivery of the pitches required daily coordination with other contractors on-site to ensure works were being completed in a sequence that would not result in re-work or damage due to overlapping schedules. The civil works and construction of the profile concluded in January 2023, with the turf grass system being installed in February. The fields of play hosted Women's World Cup 2023 teams from mid-July.
Innovative installation methods were employed for the drainage and irrigation systems. A trenchless installation approach was adopted, where both systems were laid on top of the subgrade, surrounded by drainage gravel. This method ensured minimal disruption and efficient installation.
The key driver for this project was to meet FIFA requirements for the Women's World Cup 2023, and this goal was successfully achieved. However, there were challenges. The late-season turf installation coincided with a cold and wet period, causing issues with the couch grass achieving full coverage. To address this, ryegrass was introduced to enhance turf coverage and maintain green aesthetics.
Sustaining greatness through ongoing maintenance
Ongoing maintenance is critical to preserving the high-quality playing surfaces at the WA State Football Centre. HG Turf Group have been engaged to undertake the ongoing maintenance. A tailored turf management plan has been devised to guide the day-to-day maintenance activities, ensuring that the turf grass system is prepared in line with the intended levels and hours of use. Ongoing performance assessment will provide evidence-based data to verify the pitch is performing at the level it has been designed.
Figure 3 – Field prepared for play.
Towards the future: expanding the legacy of WA State Football Centre
The journey of the WA State Football Centre is far from over. Plans are in place to develop additional community fields at the back of the newly constructed pitches. These plans, which aim to cater to a wider range of players, are on track to be implemented in the near future, pending funding. This expansion is a testament to the project's commitment to fostering football at all levels.
In conclusion, the WA State Football Centre project has transformed a previously disused area into a vibrant hub for football in Western Australia. With its commitment to excellence, sustainability, and community engagement, this project is a model for football facilities worldwide. Its journey continues, promising even more growth and opportunities for football enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.
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