WORK started this weekend to provide Queens Park Rangers with a first class playing surface ahead of the new season kick-off in August.
Contractors from Hewitt Sportsturf Construction arrived on site on Sunday to begin the task of removing the Loftus Road playing surface.
Its anticipated work will take four weeks to complete - with new under soil heating and sprinkler systems also being installed - before the task of maintaining the new surface is handed back to Rangers Head Groundsman Dave Butler and his staff.
The full playing surface should be excavated by the weekend with the new under soil heating system and sprinklers being installed within a fortnight.
That should then see work to weave a brand new DESSO pitch, a natural grass mat reinforced by injecting artificial turf fibres to ensure that the roots of the natural grass intertwine with the synthetic fibres, commencing on the 22nd June.
“It is a very tight schedule,” Nick Danvers, Project Manager for Hewitt Sportsturf, told www.qpr.co.uk today.
“We have four weeks to get all the work done and then hand it over to the ground staff. Normally this takes seven or eight weeks but we have worked over the Bank Holiday to remove all the soil and now we are bringing in another 2,500 cubic metres which is about five thousand tonnes. It will be seeded after the surface has been stitched.”
After the existing Loftus Road surface was stripped over the weekend work to excavate the soil is already well underway.
The under soil heating system is set to be upgraded whilst an automated sprinkler system is also being installed to assist with maintaining a quality pitch next season.
Nick added: “We are excavating the old surface down to the original under soil heating pipes at the moment.
“Everything is being levelled by laser. We will relay the heating pipes and we will know that there will be 250mm of material above them. So any maintenance work in the future we can be satisfied we won’t hit a pipe. At the moment we can’t do that.
“In the centre of the pitch we are installing pop-up sprinklers that can be used at half-time to add some zip to the pitch if required.
“A new root zone and sand to help improve the aeration and drainage will be added next. It will then be stitched with the DESSO system to help stabilise it all.
“Then we have just have to hope that once it is seeded you get the right conditions for the pitch to germinate but there are things we can do to stimulate that if necessary.”
Recommended by FIFA, DESSO GrassMaster® is a hybrid grass system that has more than proven itself at Premier League level, as well as being utilised by NFL Clubs, multifunctional stadiums and renowned events such as the Football World Cup, Rugby World Cup and UEFA European Championships.
The natural grass mat reinforced by injecting artificial turf fibres ensures that the roots of the natural grass intertwine with the synthetic fibres.
Rangers are not alone in recognising the benefits of the DESSO GrassMaster® with clubs including Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal all opting for the same solution.