A new cutting edge £600,000 all-weather sports pitch is to be built at a Market Harborough school.
The floodlit “gamechanger” should be “up and running” at Robert Smyth Academy by the end of the year.
And Dan Cleary, the Burnmill Road school’s principal, said he was so excited after getting the green light he wanted to start work himself straight away.
Ecstatic Dan told the Harborough Mail: “This is so exciting – it’s excellent news.
“It’s going to be an absolute gamechanger for the children of Market Harborough.
“It’s truly phenomenal for our entire community as well as for Robert Smyth Academy.”
After getting the go-ahead from Harborough council’s planning committee on Tuesday night, he revealed: “I picked up a spade on Wednesday morning!
“I was buzzing so much I wanted to start digging immediately.
“Our site technician stopped me otherwise I’d have got going straight away.”
But Dan stressed that work will get under way on the dazzling sporting asset very quickly and it will be completed in time for 2021.
“We are so pleased because Robert Smyth is fast becoming the place to grow sport in Market Harborough.
“This is the result of various partners coming together to make our incredible dream and vision come true,” said the Robert Smyth Academy chief.
“England Hockey, Market Harborough Hockey and local authorities like Harborough District Council have all united to get behind us.
“I also want to say a special word for our local MP Neil O’Brien, who’s been a great friend of the school’s since I came here two years ago.
“We’ve produced kids who are carving out professional careers in elite sports like football, hockey, cricket, rugby, netball, martial arts and others.
“This new all-weather pitch will give our students the experience they deserve and the chance to let their gifts and talents blossom and flourish.
“And it’s certainly not the end of our ambitions stretching ahead down the line.
“This is just another decisive milestone on the path to turning Robert Smyth into a genuine centre of excellence – both sportingly and academically.”
Delighted Dan said sport and physical activity should be right at the heart of students’ lives.
“We firmly believe in healthy minds and healthy bodies.
“Participating in sport is vital for our quality of life,” said the dad-of-two.
“Kids are incredibly resilient.
“We are now starting to talk about bouncing after weeks and weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We can’t wait to gear back up again here – our aspirations are limitless and the sky’s the limit.”