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CRYSTAL PALACE FC ACADEMY OPENED BY SOUTHGATE

Last autumn the new Crystal Palace FC Academy was officially opened by England manager Gareth Southgate.

The major renovation and extension project provides first-class facilities that locate more than 200 players on a single site for the first time. The Academy includes 13 changing rooms, a gym and analysis room, alongside a suite of classrooms for the young players to expand the education and welfare provision. Staff workplace facilities include meeting rooms, a boardroom, and open-plan offices, located alongside a shared central dining and recreation room, all with large terraces that overlook the pitches.

Improvements to the external masterplan include a new indoor dome with a full-size 3G pitch and viewing gallery, a full-size 3G floodlit pitch, a full-size hybrid show pitch with seating for up to 500 spectators, and three additional full-size hybrid pitches.

Before the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Southgate, who began his football career as a Palace Academy Graduate, said, “You’ve created something incredibly special, an elite facility but kept that feeling of closeness that Palace is all about. I’m very proud that you invited me back for without Crystal Palace none of my journey happens.”

The £20m redevelopments commenced last summer and secured Category One status for the club, the highest Academy rating possible. KSS led the project masterplan, architecture, and interior design and worked closely with the club alongside the contractors, dome and furniture suppliers, and pitch specialists.

Crystal Palace FC Chairman Steve Parish said, “Everybody that’s formed part of getting this club to this point can feel immensely proud of their contribution. Because it is proof that this Club, that South London, can have the very best. We want to make this place as diverse and inclusive as possible; this place is as much about teaching people about resilience. I couldn’t be prouder of this Academy, our club, and our community than I am right now.”

KSS Director Nick Marshall agrees, “There is a key differentiator with Palace, that the place itself is to be aspired to. Whilst the catchment area for this club covers some of the most deprived and diverse areas, it has proved to be a rich seam for future Premier League talent and England players. These young players need to be nurtured and given a warm, inspiring, and aspirational environment which is exactly what has been achieved at the Crystal Palace Academy.”

The ceremony was attended by dozens of VIP guests, former managers, and Academy graduates which included Wilfried Zaha, Palace Academy Graduate, and current First Team player, who said, “It’s nice to see that the Club has invested in the Academy in the way that they have, it’s a joy to see. I feel like Palace has such a togetherness, I’ll be honest when you are young the places that you train at, the facilities make a massive difference because when you come you obviously want to feel special. When players’ come in here it has the wow factor, and that will definitely drive them to want to be part of everything here.”

The final phase of facilities was also revealed at the ceremony and includes an entirely new building housing a large gym, medical rehabilitation centre, swimming pool, and hydrotherapy centre, and is due to be completed this year.