11 Dec 2015

Historic school improves grounds with Toro

Oxford’s Magdalen College School (MCS), an independent day school for boys aged 7 to 18 and sixth form girls, has invested in Toro for the first time in a bid to improve school grounds. Founded by William Waynflete in 1480 as part of Magdalen College, Oxford - one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford – MCS aims for excellence both in and outside of the classroom, outside of which is headed up by grounds manager Stuart Webber.

Stuart, who has been at MCS for just over a year, explains how the machinery investment came about. “The school is currently working to improve its grounds and getting better machinery was identified very early on as a key way to achieve this,” he says.

With sports being a major feature at Magdalen, the very best machines were needed to maintain the school’s reputation for its great facilities.

Following a deal with Toro UK distributors Lely UK, a new ProCore 648 and two Toro Reelmaster 3550-D mowers recently arrived on site.

Perfect for sports fields that take a beating from practice and games, the new Reelmaster 3550-D mowers have already been put to work on the Christ Church sportsground and the School Field, which provides ample space for field sports such as cricket, rugby and football, as well as lawn tennis.

“The 3550-D is my favourite machine because of how lightweight it is, yet it still provides that quality of cut and finish we’re looking for,” Stuart comments.

“It’s particularly useful on the School Field, which is an island that looks lovely in the summer, but as soon as we have a good amount of rain, becomes very wet. Because the 3550-D is so lightweight, we are still able to cut the field late into November, which we’ve never been able to do before.”

Joining the Reelmasters is the ProCore 648; the most productive and efficient walking aerator on the market, creating precisely cut aeration holes essential for maintaining outstanding greens. 

“The ProCore is used on all our grounds, aerating our five cricket squares, 17 tennis courts, and on our 11 winter pitches, which are turned into cricket outfields in the spring,” he says. “It has helped with the drainage on the squares and courts allowing us to mow when we want.”

With a seven-strong grounds team, growing to eight in the New Year with an apprentice due to join, Stuart notes what he and the rest of the grounds staff find most appealing about Toro.

“At my last place of work, Whitgift independent day and boarding school in South Croydon, I choose Toro for all my mowers, so it was an easy decision to pick Toro again.

“The team and I have used many other brands of mowers in the past, but Toro has by far been the best mower we’ve have used. The biggest difference from other brands is how user-friendly they are, how easy it is set them on cut and how long they stay on cut,” he adds.

Picture: Aerial shot of the MCS school field after being cut with the Toro Reelmaster 3550-D mower