Sheffield Hallam University has signed an agreement with Sheffield City Council which gives the sport a new home at the city’s Woodbourn Road stadium. The newly-refurbished stadium will be renamed Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium and will be used by elite athletes – including Jess Ennis-Hill – and the City of Sheffield Athletics Club and Hallamshire Harriers. The University’s students will also train at the site and it will be open to community groups, with all community and school athletics events formerly based at Don Valley Stadium transferring to Sheffield Hallam’s stadium.
As part of the agreement, the Council has worked to bring the facilities up to the high standard needed to deliver a first class home for athletics. The work, with a value of around £325,000, includes new floodlights, stadium seating, improvements to the track, renovation of the grass infield and repairs to fencing and gates. The Council provided £150,000 towards the improvements, with the same amount provided by Sport England and the balance from England Athletics. Mark Swales, Director of estates and facilities at the University, said:
Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium is part of our investment in sports provision for our students. Along with our sport campus at the English Institute of Sport and the new sports park at Bawtry Road, we’re making sure that our students have access to the sport facilities they need. We are planning for students from a wide range of courses to become involved in organising and managing larger sporting events in 2014 at the ground.
The University is also working with Sheffield International Venues on an athletics membership scheme, which will allow the public to use the stadium and the English Institute of Sport. A range of athletics events are already booked for 2014, including a full schools programme.
Cllr Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said:
The partnership with Sheffield Hallam University is a superb opportunity to guarantee a lasting legacy for athletics here in Sheffield and the Council has also brought together a wider partnership of the University, SIV, the clubs, Sport England and England Athletics. I would like to thank City of Sheffield AC and Hallamshire Harriers for their support and in particular I want to thank Mike Corden, chair of Sheffield AC who has worked closely with the Council for many months in steering this project to completion.