Boro's Fabio Da Silva visited Teesside University yesterday to officially open its new £1m all-weather sports pitch.
The new artificial pitch, outside the Olympia Building, is also set to be used for a national FA tournament in the coming weeks.
The investment in the all-weather pitch forms part of the University's campus masterplan which will see £300m invested over the next 10 years to completely transform the campus.
The new pitch includes a 60mm rubber crumb carpet surface with 'shockpad', similar to the surface used at the Middlesbrough Football Club training ground.
It was officially opened at an event this week attended by Fabio, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Paul Croney, and Chief Operating Officer Malcolm Page.
"It was a privilege to attend the opening and see what is a fantastic new facility," said Fabio.
"Teesside University is very important to this area, both in terms of attracting people to the region and also with opportunities and it's work within the local community.
"The club has a strong relationship with the University and the long-term plan and vision is great for the area."
As part of the official launch of the new all-weather pitch, sports teams also took part in a 12-hour game of touch rugby to raise money for the Finlay Cooper Fund.
The University’s new all-weather pitch is to be one of the venues for the first round of the national FA People’s Cup, which gets underway in February.
The FA People’s Cup is run in partnership with BBC Get Inspired and contains 18 categories, including Under-14s, veterans, disability teams, as well as university and college teams.
The biggest five-a-side tournament in the country is free to enter and Teesside University will be hosting the event on its new all-weather sports pitch on Saturday 24 February. Find out more
Professor Croney said: “We are delighted with the new facility and pleased to see it being used for a wide range of activities.
“This is part of a huge programme of investment for Teesside University which reinforces our commitment to creating an outstanding student and learning experience.
“As well as providing the very best learning and teaching facilities for our students, we want to ensure they have state-of-the-art facilities to relax, socialise and take part in activities outside of their academic studies. This new all-weather sports pitch creates those opportunities and is a fantastic addition for our students and staff.”
Malcolm Page added: “We believe our new campus masterplan will help to create a campus environment to rival any in the sector.
“The new sports pitch is one of the first projects to be completed. It is a great addition to the campus and we are looking forward to it being a host venue for the upcoming FA People’s Cup.”
The pitch is available to students and staff for 11-a-side and 7-a-side football, rugby league training and American football. In addition to the new surface, there has also been a replacement of the floodlighting system with energy efficient LED flood lights and an extension to the perimeter fence to include goal storage areas.
Teesside University has demonstrated a continued commitment to improving its estate and the new campus masterplan builds upon the £270m already invested in the campus in recent years and will see further investment of £300m over the next ten years.
Upcoming projects include a £12.5m Student Life Building to bring all student-facing services together in one location, significant transformation of student accommodation, the first phase of developing a new home for Teesside University Business School, and the £22m National Horizons Centre, a biomedical research, education and skills facility at the University’s Darlington campus.