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New leisure centre for St Albans is the right way forward

by awitherick on 21 March, 2011

This was never just about the water.

This is about providing a real facility for all residents to enjoy.

The leisure centre project is expected to cost £24.7m and funding for the project has been approved by the Council and is on track for opening in summer 2012.

Building work on the new leisure centre has started on site today on 21 March and will include provision for:

  • a 25m x 8 lane main pool with 50% moveable floor
  • a 17x10m training pool both with 100% moveable floors
  • a confidence water area
  • a four court sports hall
  • a poolside health suite
  • a spa
  • a 200 station fitness gym and youth gym
  • two exercise/multi purpose studios
  • a climbing wall
  • a crèche
  • a children’s soft play area
  • a café/bistro

Preparation of the site began at the end of last year paving the way for construction work to start on the new leisure centre in the first quarter of 2011. This work is currently ongoing and will include clearing the site of a number of trees in readiness for Willmott Dixon Construction to come on site in March. New trees will be planted as part of the landscaping of the site once building work on the new Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre has been completed.

The new Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre is expected to open in the summer of 2012. Provision has been made for the existing Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre to remain open to the public while the new leisure centre is constructed alongside.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder for Sport and Leisure at St Albans City and District Council, said: “The signing of the contract is a real milestone in the Council’s plans to build a fantastic new leisure centre that will meet the needs of a broad section of the community. It will provide significantly improved leisure facilities that include a four-court sports hall, a climbing wall, a spa, two swimming pools and a separate confidence water area for children.

“The existing leisure centre is no longer economically viable, is in a poor state of repair, is not energy efficient and has limited access for people with disabilities. It would require a significant investment from the Council simply to maintain the leisure centre in its current condition. The Council is therefore replacing it with a new leisure centre that will provide local residents with much improved facilities that will appeal to a broader range of people than ever before.”

Willmott Dixon Construction was awarded the design and construction contract following a tender process and an assessment by consultant Drivers Jonas Deloitte. The Council has also carried out its own financial checks on the company which is part of Hertfordshire-based Willmott Dixon Group. Over the last ten years the Group has built more than 100 pools and 70 leisure facilities in the private and public sectors, including educational schemes.

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