Japan Rugby Top League’s Panasonic WildKnights and Saitama Rugby Football Union (SRFU) have revealed plans to build a new training complex for the club within the Saitama Municipal Sports and Culture Park.
The WildKnights last year announced their intention to relocate from Ota city in Gunma to Kumagaya city in Saitama.
The new complex will be built inside the same park where the WildKnights’ home stadium, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, is located.
The new complex comprises an office building, indoor training facility and accommodation block, and is scheduled for completion in August 2021, Rugby Republic website said.
All three facilities will be built adjacent to the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium with the office building situated within 30 seconds walking distance from the large video screen in the stadium.
The total area covered by the new complex, training pitch, stadium and the parking lot will be around 30,000m2.
The SRFU will now apply for the building and management permits issued by Saitama Prefecture under Japan’s Urban Parks Act.
The SRFU has already signed leasing agreements with Panasonic’s Corporate Sports Centre for the club facilities within the indoor training facility and office building, and with Panasonic Homes for the accommodation block and café/restaurant within the office building, respectively.
The two-storey office building with a 30-metre long training space as well as a medical room will be mainly used as the WildKnights’ club headquarters but it will also have a café and a meeting room on the ground floor that can be available for wider community use while the SRFU will have their own office on the first floor.
The indoor training facility to be built right next to the office building and will be used in adverse weather conditions or in winter. With the height of the roof set at 8 metres, the indoor training facility is even suited for practicing lineouts.
The new accommodation block will be four-storeys high and will also be available for a wider community use including by students, amateur players and fans alike who visit the park to train or attend events/competitions.
The first floor of the block will have capsule-like affordable single rooms for students while larger, higher grade rooms for professional players will be built on the second and third floors. A total of 247 rooms with the maximum capacity of 308 guests will be built. The ground floor of the block, on the other hand, will have tenants like restaurants and a merchandise shop.
Kiyoshi Tomioka, chairman of the SRFU, said:
How to leave the lasting legacy of the fantastic Rugby World Cup 2019 to the city of Kumagaya which was of course one of the host cities of the competition has been hotly discussed. The new complex will not only help promote and develop rugby in Kumagaya but it will also attract more events and competitions as the rugby environment in the park as a whole will be hugely improved.
We would love to have, not just the rugby people, but also a wider community to come and use the facilities.
The construction cost of the new complex is estimated at approximately 3.5 billion JPY (£25.5 million/€28.1 million) and financial institutions in Kumagaya will loan the funds to the SRFU, which is expected to start work this month.