WORK to give Sheffield Hallam University’s sports ground a £5m revamp has been kicked off by South Yorkshire football and rugby stars.
Premiership referee Howard Webb, plus Mark Aston and Andrew Henderson, both from Sheffield Eagles rugby league team, cut the first sod to launch the project on Bawtry Road in Tinsley.
The redeveloped site will be known as Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park and will boast international standard rugby and football pitches.
There will also be synthetic pitches and a new sports pavilion named after Graham Solley, the university’s former head of sport.
Howard Webb said: “It’s wonderful these sporting facilities are something local people can use and that people are investing in sport for this generation and the next.”
Mark Aston, Eagles’ head coach, said: “We always talk about sport and education being a vehicle for success and this facility epitomises that.”
The site, part of a £100m programme of development at the university, is available to Sheffield Hallam students but will also be used by local community teams.
Mark Swales, director of estates and facilities at the university, said: “This is a significant and exciting investment.”
The project is expected to be completed by the autumn.
Hallam and Sheffield universities are also involved in the proposals to build a planned new £15m rugby ground, partly replacing Don Valley Stadium. The redevelopment is part of the £40m scheme including a revamped Woodbourn Road athletics track, bases for snooker and basketball, a second University Technical College to complement the one in the city centre, plus a new centre for sport and exercise medicine.