The Academy of Light has not been developed solely with the needs of players in mind.
Planning also centred around enhancing the environment for the local community, and the club appointed a leading ecologist to manage the environmental development.
A wetlands area attracts ducks and wading birds, while black-headed gulls and birds such as linnets and skylarks have also been seen visiting the site.
The wetlands also ensure that natural resources are sustainable and not wasted. The water used to irrigate the pitches is naturally recycled and filtered through a series of reed beds in the ponds before being used to water the pitches again.
This means the site is totally self-sufficient for water. Extensive areas of woodland will also be created through the planting of thousands of new and mature trees.
Wet woodlands are an important part of the proposal dominated by alder, birch, willow and the nationally rare black poplar.
Sunderland’s environmental plans for the Academy of Light also received a ringing endorsement from Professor David Bellamy, a recognised world authority on environmental issues.
Professor Bellamy described the ecological framework underpinning development as the best he had seen in 45 years.