Goodbye to the good old blaes

Councillor Elain Green visits the recently installed pitch at Mearns Castle high.
Councillor Elain Green visits the recently installed pitch at Mearns Castle high.

PHYSICAL education at St Ninian’s high school is set to be revolutionised thanks to a new all-weather pitch.

Work will begin later this year on the £502,000 synthetic surface which will replace the outdated blaes pitch.

Funding for the new facility was approved as part of East Renfrewshire council’s budget earlier this year.

Pupils will be able to use the state-of-the-art surface all year round during both school hours and for extra-curricular activities at nights and weekends.

A council spokesman said: “The blaes surface that is currently the school’s sports pitch is rarely used due both to its poor condition, and that it is often unplayable during bad weather.”

Plans to replace the blaes with the new generation pitch were welcomed by convener of education and equalities, Paul O’Kane.

He said: “This is a very welcome boost for St Ninian’s high school.

“The old blaes pitch is not really fit for purpose and is rarely used, so this will be tremendous for the pupils.
“Ensuring our schools have first-class sports facilities is of paramount importance.”
He continued: “This all-weather surface is state-of-the-art and will make a real difference to the school both during class time and for extra-curricular activities, particularly the Easter and summer sports camps.”

The pitch is due for completion within the financial year. The blaes pitch it will replace has been part of St Ninian’s sports facilities since the school was built in 1984.

Meanwhile, the newly resurfaced pitch at Mearns Castle high is proving a great success with the school.

The old sand-based pitch was replaced with a new 3G synthetic carpet, laid in late 2012 and opening a week before Christmas.

All the 11-a-side and 7-a-side football goals where replaced with brand new equipment, with the refurbishment taking around 16 weeks to complete at a cost of around £170,000.

Education convener councillor Elaine Green, who recently visited the pitch, said: “It was great to see the pupils enjoying training on the new surface.

“Many of the grass pitches suffered during the bad weather but the new 3G synthetic pitch has allowed many local teams to catch up with games that had to be postponed before the pitch opened.”