CHANGING FACE...Albion Academy manager Mark Harrison outside new base
Image by: Sam Bagnall of AMA
09:45 24th April 2013
Baggies open doors to new Academy 'footballing hub'
ALBION have opened the doors to their new Academy base following a £1.3million redevelopment on Halfords Lane.
In November, the club finished the installation of a full-size, floodlit, fourth-generation UEFA two-star artificial pitch next to the Indoor Training facility, which stages Academy training sessions and matches.
To complement the artificial pitch, work to refurbish the former Albion Foundation building for Academy use has been completed and it now houses changing rooms for players, coaching staff and officials, a medical room, offices, classrooms and a parents' meeting room.
The club undertook the works as part of their commitment to achieving Category One status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), which they were awarded by the Independent Standards Organisation on behalf of the Premier League in December.
Sporting & Technical Director (Designate) Richard Garlick said: “The new facilities are part of the club’s wider investment in the Academy.
“We are endeavouring to create the best environment in which to develop and nurture young talent.
“When the Premier League saw our plans for the redevelopment of the Halfords Lane site, they described it as ‘the creation of a footballing hub’ - and we believe that is exactly what we have achieved.”
The newly-refurbished building will house the Baggies’ 20 Academy staff.
It will be utilised for the footballing and educational needs of more than 200 players aged between six and 18.
Academy Manager Mark Harrison added: “We now have fantastic purpose-built facilities located on one site.
“We also have Sandwell Academy School, where our players enjoy a full-time programme, right on the doorstep.
“The World-renowned football club academies talk about creating a family feel.
“We’ve got a really good family culture at the club already and now we have a central hub where we can endorse and develop even further the work we do.
“A massive thank you must go to Mark Miles [Albion’s Head of Facility Operations & Development] who. with his team, has created a top-notch environment for us to work in with our players and their parents.”