The first indoor sports stadium in Nantes is in the Grand West Area of France. The facility was built with respect for the environment and to save energy. Inside the facility is a track with a Mondo surface.
In the early 2000s, professional athletes residing in the city of Nantes and the Pays-de-la-Loire region needed a facility where they could train throughout the year out of adverse weather. So the city’s administration and the region’s government decided to build an indoor stadium, dedicated mainly to athletics, but also suitable for hosting sports such as badminton, handball, basketball, volleyball, etc.
“The athletics world in the Nantes area demanded such a structure for several decades, but the project could only be completed through the financial participation of several organizations,” said Christophe Saudrais, Project Manager, DATI BATI - Pôle Projets d'Equipements.
The 22 million euro cost to build the facility was equally divided between the city of Nantes, the Pays-de-la-Loire region, the University of Nantes and the state.
Located on the Nantes University campus, the Pierre Quinon stadium allows athletes to practice sports at all levels year-round and in the best conditions possible. “This is primarily a training facility open to everyone (schools, clubs, and associations), but it also hosts important events at the regional and interregional levels, and some of the most important university sports competitions, such as the French Championships,” said Saudrais.
The choice to build on campus was deliberate. “What prompted the University of Nantes to participate actively in the project was the desire to have a multipurpose sports facility,” said Olivier Laboux, Rector of the University of Nantes. “The new stadium is useful for university sports in all forms, whether it’s training and studying sports activities, or competing and training in the field. In addition, some rooms host exams twice a year.”
The construction of the Pierre Quinon stadium was entrusted to Jean Guervilly, an architect with extensive experience designing facilities for indoor sports enthusiasts. For the new stadium, Guervilly wanted to give athletes who practice sports indoor similar conditions to what they would have training or running outdoors.
“In countries where it rains and is cold, having an indoor athletics stadium is necessary. Although this is an acceptable solution, it is still not the same as actually training outdoors. So I wanted this facility to enable those training inside to be able to experience the outside as much as possible,” explained Guervilly. To achieve this goal, Guervilly maximized the use of natural lighting. “Windows extend across the ceiling from one side of the facility to the other, enabling an abundant amount of natural light to come in. The windows face north to avoid glare, which can make workouts more difficult,” said Guervilly.***
During construction, close attention was paid to the quality of the track surface that was installed to ensure the athletes’ best performance during training and competition. For the oval and the athletics track, which occupied the largest area, a product with optimal shock absorption, [athlete's response, energy storage and return, and durability was required. Mondo’s Sportflex Super X Performance 13.5mm was chosen for the indoor track. “From a technical perspective, the athletes are quite satisfied and say that the track is very fast," said Saudrais.
ondo was involved in the supply and installation of athletics track pavement and related elements.
“Asphalt preparation is fundamental work for us,” recalled Alessandro Ambrogio, Sales Manager of Mondo France. “In this installation, setting up the track with inclined curves was a particularly delicate operation.”
Following asphalt construction, technicians who specialize in mathematics conducted a series of surveys, which were needed by those who prepared the infrastructure. The measurements were checked again before the floor was finally laid. Perfect coordination between the various workers involved in the construction was critical.
“The outside of the track has the same bend radius as the track, and there is a casing around the surface, so it was necessary to have excellent coordination between the technicians, suppliers, and installers of the track and the facility designers,” explained Ambrogio.
Building a facility is the result of collaboration among workers. Exactly like for an athlete, a good final result is a combination of work, trust, and relationship with others. "When there is a coming together like the one that was with the Nantes project, the result is a beautiful, high-quality facility," said Guervilly.
The Pierre Quinon stadium is located in an area of France where sport, and especially athletics, is practiced assiduously.
“In our region, passion for athletics is strong: in recent years, membership of the Regional Athletics League has increased by 54%, bringing the number of members to 22,000, which makes us the second largest region of France, behind Ile-de-France," said Jean-Pierre Fournery, President of the Athletics League Pays-de-la-Loire region.
Given that athletics training is from the beginning of October to the end of April, the importance of an indoor facility available for working out is evident. Already the presence of an indoor stadium in the region has brought some immediate benefits, including easier participation of athletes—especially young people—throughout the year, increase in athlete’s performance level, and decrease in fatigue and costs associated with frequent transportation that athletes and their coaches previously had.
“Until now, we had to drive many hours to find a 200m indoor track,” commented Cristophe Cavoleau, Vice President of the Club Athletics Herbauges Athlé 44. “This stadium allows the club to save transportation costs. The track is beautiful, fast, and the stadium is suitable for organizing regional events. Having a structure of this level and being able to train during all seasons improves the development of Nantes club.”