Designs

St Columbkilles Primary School - TifTuf Turf Installation

By Lawn Solutions Australia

  • St Columbkilles Primary School - TifTuf Turf Installation

    St Columbkilles Primary School - TifTuf Turf Installati...

About the project

Countless studies have shown that well maintained lawn and green space areas have a positive benefit on public health outcomes. St Columbkille’s has one “paddock” of around 1400m2 that is used heavily by the students for sports classes, recess and lunch as well as before and after school care. The amount of little feet on this relatively small patch of grass is extreme to say the least.
TifTuf providing safe, low maintenance play spaces for energetic children.
Countless studies have shown that well maintained lawn and green space areas have a positive benefit on public health outcomes. Turfgrasses play a critical role in the general health and welfare of our nation and as a result of increasing urbanisation, they are becoming more and more important for human health. Lawns, parks and open playgrounds provide areas of cool, clean and calm that are critical to improved health; they are oases that are somewhat freer of the stresses of daily life in an urban environment
School playgrounds and sports fields are also a crucial part of a healthy and balanced education process and add to the overall appeal and practicality of a school. Many schools in built up environments find it hard to retain areas of open green space for their students because of development pressures and the cost of maintaining and servicing these areas.
One such school is St Columbkille’s primary school, situated 60km south of Sydney and just 5 km north of the city of Wollongong, the school is a short walk from the shopping district of Corrimal, a popular suburb of the coastal city of Wollongong. The school is in a highly developed area so the available space for grounds is very limited.
St Columbkille’s has one “paddock” of around 1400m2 that is used heavily by the students for sports classes, recess and lunch as well as before and after school care. The amount of little feet on this relatively small patch of grass is extreme to say the least. Current principal and sports fanatic Mr Bradley Colquhoun has made it a priority to maintain this area in a usable state so the children at the school can play and learn in a safe and natural environment. “After several years of a sub-standard grass playground space, we have finally found a product that is deserving of our students.” Said Mr Colquhoun.
In late 2017, Mr Colquhoun contacted Lawn Solutions Australia to get advice on a revamp of this area to get it up to a standard that would be safe and enjoyable for the kids at the school to use. With the excess traffic and lack of a dedicated maintenance staff member, relying on volunteers for mowing and upkeep, the field had degraded over time and was becoming a hazard with grazed knees a common issue for the children. “We really needed a playground space that was safe, accessible and aesthetically pleasing for our students be able to use and take great pride in.” Mr Colquhoun commented.
The school needed an attractive but hardy, low maintenance option for the paddock that would be able to handle the amount of foot traffic that it receives each day and not need constant attention to remain healthy and green. TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda grass was chosen because it answered the needs of the school and had been proven to sustain high traffic areas as well as being very drought tolerant.
In December 2017, the school went ahead with the project, removing the existing turf and weeds, recommissioning the underground sprinkler system and installing 1350m2 of premium TifTuf to cover the paddock and nearly a year later, the move has proven to be a winner. The children returned to the 2018 school year to find a brilliant green field where there once was a worn and patchy cover and have been able to use the field without issue ever since.
“The renovation of our primary grassed area using the TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda grass in consultation with Lawn Solutions Australia has provided our St Columbkille’s school, Corrimal and the wider community with a beautiful area and they just love playing on it”. Brad iterated.

The winter following the installation was a particularly cold and dry season, but the grass remained intact with no fertiliser and very minimal irrigation. “this playground space is consistently used throughout the week for numerous activities.
“Throughout the autumn and winter months the cover of grass was exceptional and held up well throughout this period. From a WHS perspective and overall functionality, the grass provided the students with a safe and reliable surface that was used several times per day, 5 days a week through Term 2 and 3.”
In the term 3 holidays, Mr Colquhoun organised a renovation of the paddock, aerating, fertilising and topdressing the space to get it back to its original glory and the results were very pleasing. The inclusion of TifTuf, a grass bred especially for circumstances just like this, has made a small piece of real estate green, safe and user friendly again which has and will do a lot for the mental and physical health of the students at St Columbkilles for years to come.

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