Sports Facilities for Schools

When in 1966 the Austrian Institute for School and Sports Facilities Construction started to establish a sports facilities plan covering the whole of Austria and in this connection conducted a stocktaking of all available gymnasia, playing fields and swimming pools, no-one had yet any idea what a development in sports facility construction these measures would set in motion.
This development also had an especial effect on the teaching of physical education in schools:
At that time 1,419 of the total 3,890 districts in Austria had no outdoor facility whatsoever, which is to say that approximately one third of all Austrian elementary schools had not even a playground surface or a field to use for simple forms of physical exercise. With gymnasia the situation was even worse: there were 3,015 of the 3,890 districts who had no facility of this type i.e. no gymnastics room. 75% of all elementary schools were without a facility for physical education.

Since then the situation has changed fundamentally:

  • The number of gymnasia has increased in 30 years from 1,742 to approximately 5,000.
  • The number of outdoor facilities (football pitches) increased from 1,521 to approximately 3,500 to which must be added approximately 2,000 small playing fields which were set up for smaller schools.
  • What is even more remarkable is the improvement in the quality of the facilities (sports specific dimensions, provision of changing rooms, improvement of surfaces, installation of care equipment etc.).

In the course of the development there resulted a lively exchange of ideas between industry, sports equipment production, the representatives of school communities and the Austrian Institute for School and Sports Facilities Construction (O.I.S.S.).

A significant result of this work was the establishment of "ONORMEN" (the then Austrian standards) for sports facilities. This means that the external factors of the task of physical education (situation and construction of gymnasia, form and function of apparatus etc.) are standardised at a high level and have quite specific requirements with which to comply so that the question of safety, always of pivotal status, can be put to one side.

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Sports Halls

Binding guidelines for the planning and construction of sports halls are to be found in ONORM B 2608 (Sports Halls - Guidelines for Planning and Construction) which appeared on September 1st 1995. Proceeding from the selection of the correct location one is lead, amongst other things, to individual types of hall.

The sports facilities must satisfy both school and non-school requirements. It is also entirely usual that "Sports Halls" or "Triple Purpose Halls" should be built as part of school construction projects.The furnishing of sports halls with fixed and movable sports apparatus is determined in ONORM B 2609 (Apparatus for Sports Halls - Guidelines for Planning, Installation and Maintenance) of January 1st 1997.
Proceeding from the standard hall (15m x 27m x 5.5m) type and quantity of installed equipment is specified as are safety conditions. In order to guarantee the safety of sports participants after commissioning, sports facilities are inspected and checked regularly.

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Playing Fields

Open air sports facilities are subject to just the same standards and recommendations as have been experienced with sports halls. Instructions for planning and completion of open air sports surfaces appear in ONORM B 2605 (Sports Fields - Planning Guidelines and Construction Instructions) of December 1st 1988 and in ONORM B 2606 (Sports Field Equipment).

The size of an installation is determined on one hand by the number of users and on the other by the requirements of sports disciplines.
An average school sport installation consists of a multifunctional surface (e.g. 22m x 44m), a 100m track (3 lanes), a long jump pit, a shot putt circle and a gymnastics area. From this directive results an artificial sport surface of some 1,600 square metres per school.

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Sports Facility Maintenance

Of approximately 550 state schools some 330 operate their own outdoor sports facility. 60% of all middle and upper schools control their own outdoor sports facility. Nationally an area of circa 500,000 square metres of artificial playing surface has been laid of which 98% of facilities have an upper surface of PU-bonded rubber granules.

The remaining surface is laid with artificial grass. In order to guarantee the safety and functioning of the facilities the operators are duty bound to carry out the requisite maintenance. In state schools the training of maintenance personnel is improved by courses and through supplying maintenance instructions.

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