Top-class school sports facilities

The International School of Debrecen in Hungary borders a nature reserve. When installing sports surfaces in outdoor areas, the focus was therefore not on quality alone; nature conservation presented planners and installers with surprising challenges – a job for CONICA.

 The ISD (International School Debrecen) has been located in Debrecen – Hungary’s second biggest city – since September 2019. This English-speaking school currently supports 500 pupils from kindergarten up to school leavers in line with international standards. The grounds are suitably spacious: an eye-catching semi-circular building with a footprint of 7,200 m2 and various outdoor facilities were built on a five hectare site according to plans from the Budapest BORD Architectural Studio. The architectural firm has only been operating since 2006, but has already received awards for a number of its projects. The ISD itself was awarded the “Golden A’ Design Award” in the category “Architecture, Building and Structure Design”.

The site directly borders the Nagyerdő nature reserve (“The Great Forest”). Extensive sports facilities dominate the open spaces. The multi-purpose playing field is particularly eye-catching. It is located on the roof of a columned hall and is connected to the first floor of the main building by bridges.

The right surface for every sport

With such an ambitious construction project, the entire infrastructure needs to meet the highest standards. In addition, the location in a nature reserve meant that very strict environmental protection regulations had to be observed both during construction and for the finished structure. Therefore, only first-class materials were considered for the sports fields. The surfaces had to fulfil many different demands: durable elasticity, easy on the joints, anti-slip, mechanically resilient and UV-resistant, to name just the most important. The decision-makers therefore decided to purchase the sports surfaces exclusively from CONICA. Erdei Sporttechnologia from Debrecen was commissioned for planning. Global Sport Kft, also from Debrecen, carried out the installation. There was only a limited time window available for the project and numerous subcontractors to be coordinated. Thanks to the excellent collaboration between all the trades and the high-quality materials used, the ambitious project was successful, despite some planned and also some unexpected hurdles.

Bench coverings and birds with taste

Such an ambitious project always presents special challenges. One was that twenty concrete benches needed a covering of CONIPUR 2S, not just on their horizontal tops but also on their sides, which had a 75% gradient! However, this was made possible with the right mixture.

The 630 m2 multi-purpose playing field, which, as mentioned, was installed on a roof, also provided some surprises. The substrate is composed of a concrete ceiling and thermal and water insulation with gravel. First, an elastic layer with a special plastic grid reinforcement was applied. The top layer consisted of a 10 mm thick layer of CONIPUR EPDM. However, this proved unexpectedly popular among the birds from the nature reserve. The animals began to damage the surface – perhaps because they wanted to use it as a building material themselves? The reasons why were unknown. But a solution was urgently needed. A pore-sealing coating and then a two-layer spray coating proved to be a suitable solution. The combination proved unattractive to the birds.

From children’s games to competitive sport

The other facilities were spared by the birds, but were no less demanding. First, there is 600 m2 of playground surfaces for which different HIC values (Head Injury Criterion) have been defined. These measured and calculated values are primarily used in the automotive industry to compare the passenger safety of different vehicles. Here, they are used as a criterion to determine the cushioning effect in case of falls. Last but not least, of course, there is also a professional running track. The 2000 m2 area is covered with CONIPUR SP, a material that is even certifiable to World Athletics Standards.

You could say that the various CONICA surfaces reflect the students entire school career: from their first games on a protective playground surface to top athletic performances of young men and women about to start their studies and professional lives.

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