University of Chichester is on track for £2m investment in sport

University and athletics bosses mark the start of work on the new running track  Picture by Louise Adams
University and athletics bosses mark the start of work on the new running track Picture by Louise Adams

The University of Chichester’s world-class sports facilities are being enhanced this summer to the tune of £2m.

The first turf has been cut for a new running track on the north side of the Bishop Otter Campus – while work continues on a new sports dome.

Professor Clive Behagg, vice-chancellor of the university, started construction of the track, which is beginning with an eight-lane 100m straight and a section for long, triple and high jump. Improvements are also taking place to the pavilion alongside the track.

At the same time, work is going ahead on a multi-use sports dome that can house three netball courts or four tennis courts and will be an all-weather facility to support sports courses, particularly students studying PE and Sports Coaching.

Both will be completed in time for the start of the new academic year in September.

The projects form the first phase of a strategy aimed at cementing the university’s position as a leading institution for elite athletes. Students will also get a working environment that will prepare them for their future as sport mentors, coaches, therapists and scientists.

Dr Mike Lauder, head of sport and exercise sciences, said: “This will be a fantastic training and performance facility for staff and students. It will also act as an outdoor laboratory for our students and experts, where we carry out sport-specific testing and analysis to a level we have not been able to do before.”

Prof Behagg said: “With the Olympic and Paralympic Games in our home country too, this is a great year to be establishing a running track.”

The university’s longer-term vision is for a full oval track.

Phil Baker from Chichester Runners, who was also at the turf-cutting, said: “We’re delighted to see work starting – it will enhance the opportunities afforded to local athletes and other users.”

The running track is made by Mondo, who have laid surfaces at London Olympic and Paralympic venues. The contractor is Amiri Construction Ltd.