Vote YES! Referendum for Outdoor Sport, Physical Activity & Recreational Facilities.

On Monday and Tuesday next week (6th, 7th March) there will be a referendum regarding increasing the student capitation fee by €50 to fund the development of more outdoor sport, physical activity and recreational facilities for UCC. This project aims to improve upon the existing facilities we already have and provide more facilities and space for purely physical activity and recreational purposes. The Clubs’ Executive and UCC Department of Sport & Physical Activity fully endorse this project and would like to encourage all students to vote YES in next weeks’ referendum.

Project Background

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The Cork Science and Innovation Park will be built on the site of the current Curraheen Farm Sports Grounds. As a result, new outdoor sports facilities will be built on a new site a little further west on Curraheen Road. It is our view that we don’t just want a copy of the facilities we already have, but instead we should be using this oppourtunity to build a state of the art facility to rival other third level institutions. This means having all-weather 3G astroturf  pitches instead of only all grass pitches so training won’t get canceled during the winter months, more flood lighting so more activity can continue into the evening, proper changing facilities instead of dilapidated porta-cabins and additional other indoor facilities. 
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Site location for New Farm
Current Site and New Site location for UCC Curraheen Sports Grounds “The Farm”
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But this project extends far beyond just developing a new Farm. Funds generated towards this project will also be used to improve outdoor facilities in the Mardyke Sports Grounds, Mardyke Gardens and Perrott’s Inch. These developments will be mainly geared towards facilitating more physical activity among students and providing more open outdoor spaces for recreational purposes. Opening up the spaces at Mardyke Gardens (next to the skate park across from the Main Gates) and Perrott’s Inch (green space along Western Road) will provide excellent areas for clubs and societies to hold outdoor events, for students to go get some fresh air, to chill-out and to get some exercise.
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Perrott’s Inch
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Perrott’s Inch is a sizable piece of land along Western Road that is currently unused by anyone. The Perrott’s Inch Pedestrian Bridge Project will provide a direct link from the lower grounds to Perrott’s Inch and onto the Western Road. The project also involves landscaping works which will provide an attractive but distinctive extension to the lower grounds parkland. By including this site into the project we can ensure that the space is preserved for students to enjoy as a chill-out zone and as another location for outdoor club and society events. As personal health and wellbeing has become more and more important in all of our lives we believe that providing a prime space like this for students to enjoy is a must. As the project develops this space would ideally include a shelter (i.e. a gazebo) and an all-weather surfaced area to make the space an attractive place to go all year long.
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Perrotts Inch
Location of Perrott’s Inch
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Mardyke Gardens
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Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this project will be the development of the Mardyke Gardens site for recreational use. This site, which is currently owned by UCC,  offers a great location for development of recreational and “chill-out” spaces for students within a stone’s throw of Main Campus.
The proposed development of this site will see two new UCC owned tennis courts, a multi-purpose playing surface, practice cricket areas and a large “chill-out” zone being built for students. The chill-out zone is intended as a place where students can go to relax outside and get some fresh air. We see this area as very important for students, especially during times of stress and we think will make an excellent addition to the local environment.
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Mardyke Gardens Plan
Architect’s Proposal for Mardyke Gardens
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Locati
Location of Mardyke Gardens in relation to UCC Main Gate
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The New Curraheen Sports Grounds
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The New Curraheen Farm Sports Grounds will replace the sports facilities lost to the development of the new Cork Science and Innovation Park. However we feel it is important not to simply build a like-for-like version of the current facilities. For anyone who has ever been to the Farm you will know that the current facilities are majorly lacking in changing facilities and flood lighting for evening activities. The Farm is also massively affected by poor weather conditions.
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The grass pitches on the Farm suffer majorly from poor weather conditions making it unplayable
The need for Astroturf Pitches is made obvious by the fact that many of our grass pitches are unplayable during periods of bad weather
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Farm shower room
Shower and Toilet Facilities at the Farm after cleaning
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Changing Rooms
Changing Rooms at the Farm
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Current Farm Layout
Layout of the Current Curraheen Sports Grounds (Farm)
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The New Farm will provide a major improvement to the current state of affairs (see draft proposal below). The main features of the proposed project include:
  • A central pavilion with changing rooms, meeting rooms, a large function room and viewing balcony. This building will be designed as a multipurpose space that could be used not only by sport but by other services in UCC looking for more space. It will make an ideal venue for clubs and society functions and will be an ideal place to bring spectators for all kinds of tournaments from the Collingwood to Med Cup.
  • Their will be plenty of flood lights to cover nine playing areas (1-9) as opposed to the current two,
  • 3G astroturf all-weather playing pitches (1-5) and an indoor 3G astroturf training ground (7).

With these improvements UCC Sporting Facilities will finally be able to rival those of other third-level institutions around the country.

 
Farm Plan
Draft proposal for the layout of the New Farm
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Mardyke Sports Grounds
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The Mardyke Sports Grounds includes all of the outdoor facilities located around the Mardyke Arena. It consists of the Prunty Pitch (the Rugby Pitch), the Mardyke Pavilion, the Sonia O’Sullivan Athletics Track, the Synthetic Pitch and the Mardyke GAA Grounds.
There are several proposed improvements to this site. This includes refurbishments to the Prunty Pitch viewing stand, repairs to the athletics track and synthetic pitch, complete rebuilding of the GAA changing facilities and upgrading the technology used on site.
By upgrading the capacity and quality of the changing facilities at the Mardyke Sports Grounds it will allow for a greater turn around of activity between groups. This means that more activity will be allowed to take place and therefore provide physical activity for more students.
With the development of the new Curraheen Farm Sports Grounds it is also expected that the local facilities will be freed up for more recreational purposes as opposed to elite team training. Thereby catering for a greater proportion of the overall student body.
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Mardyke Sports Grounds
The Mardyke Sports Grounds
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The Referendum
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I hope that for those of you who made it to the end of this article now see the benefits in this project. This isn’t only a project for sport, this project aims to cater for the needs of all students. 
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We need everyone who is in support of this project to come out on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th of March and vote YES in this referendum in order to see this project come to fruition. The student capitation fee has been used in the past to fund projects such as the Student Centre and the extension of the Mardyke Arena however this project is not being built for commercial purposes. We realise that increasing the fee by €50 is a tough ask on students but we believe that the benefit to future students that this project will provide justifies the increase and if we don’t act now then we risk the new Farm being as poorly equipped as the current facility and certainly no new developments near campus. 
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The wording of the referendum will be as follows:
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“The Student Capitation fee be increased by €50 per Student. This additional sum will be for the sole purpose of developing both on and off campus outdoor spaces and physical activity facilities. The current €40 fee for the Mardyke Arena development project shall also be transferred to this fund.”
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VOTE YES!