BROMSGROVE’S new £13.7million Sports and Leisure Centre is due to open on November 1, the council has revealed.
And, as The Standard was given a sneak preview and a look behind the scenes of the new building on Tuesday, the authority’s head of leisure and cultural services John Godwin said it would be the best centre of its kind in the whole county.
On entering, there is the reception area and cafe to the left, along with a viewing gallery for the main swimming pool.
Alongside the main pool, which is 25metres by 10metres, there will be a 130 capacity seating area meaning it will be able to accommodate small galas. The council decided to keep it at that level as nearby pools, including Redditch’s Abbey Stadium and a pool in Worcester, which could hold larger galas, are just a 15 to 20-minute drive away.
The smaller pool is 15metres by 10metres which is larger than the usual 13×7 and it has a state-of-the-art movable floor which will enable depths to vary up to 1.5m. The aim of that is it will be able to be used for beginners and also hydrotherapy sessions, including groups with disabilities.
Extra investment in this area by the council means the temperature of the air and water in both pools can be set differently depending on which sessions are being run.
A very impressive suite will boast a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, monsoon (power) showers, bucket cubicle (where buckets of cold water can be tipped over participants), along with aromatherapy, mood lighting and soft music.
The steam room will have ‘dark sky at night’ LEDs in the ceiling and there will also be a heated tile bench and treatment rooms where massages can be offered, as well as manicures, pedicures and other beauty treatments.
There will also be a ‘village’ changing area, group changing rooms, separate male and female changing areas and ones for those with disabilities.
Mr Godwin said: “This whole area has been designed to high specifications and with a high end finish, right down to the Karndean floor.
“There is nothing worse than a brand new sparkling leisure centre opening and it looking tired after just a couple of years.”
Making up the ground floor is the climbing wall which will offer something new in the area. It boasts up to 15 different climbs of varying heights and difficulty levels and currently the nearest venues to offer anything similar are in Worcester, Birmingham and Stratford. The fact there are 15 different routes means if a class of 30 children was to turn up for a session, they would be able to be split across the 15 sections with one climbing and one waiting to go on. The climbing wall is due to be installed next week.
Upstairs there will be a massive gym space capable of accommodating between 90 to 110 work stations, including treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers, rowers, weight machines and free weights.
In addition to that, there will be a cycling studio with around 30 bikes. They will be linked to large screen TVs and, when scheduled studio cycling classes are not on, they can be used to provide ‘virtual cycling’ sessions where the instructor appears on the screen. The bikes in the studio will be top of the range ‘Kaiser’ bikes and those in the main gym will also be state of the art.
There will also be a consultation room in the fitness suite for items such as exercise on referral and personal programmes.
Also on the first floor will be dance studios – a smaller one, which includes toilets and a kitchen area, for children’s parties and other functions, and a larger 30m by 10m room. The latter can be partitioned off into two 15m by 10m rooms.
Two types of lockers, the smaller ones for wallets, phones and keys and larger ones for clothes and bags, are being incorporated into the corridors, there are also toilets, showers and changing areas with vanity units and full-length mirrors and a manager’s office and staff room making up the first floor.
Mr Godwin said: “People’s expectations of leisure centres have risen over the years and they want more on offer and that feeling of luxury which we believe our centre provides.
“This will be the best centre around when it is finished and in order for it to be successful it has got to be competitive.
“We need to ensure price is not a barrier to participation and there is an extensive concessions policy in place with the operator Everyone Active.”
He added users would be able to ‘pay as they go’ or have a contract, depending on what was best for them.
“We will support those who need support so they can use the centre and make sure as many people as possible get to come the new Bromsgrove Sports and Leisure Centre.”
Neil Cowdrey, contract manager for Everyone Active, said he was delighted to be working with the district council and Morgan Sindall on the new project.
“There will be a fantastic range of state-of-the-art facilities available at the new centre, and we are very much looking forward to supporting local people to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle
“We will be offering a number of different physical activity opportunities for the local community ranging from our Swim England accredited swimming lessons, to group exercise classes in one of the three brand new exercise studios.”
And he urged anyone interested in improving their health and wellbeing to visit the Dolphin Centre from next Friday (September 1) to speak with his colleagues and find out more about the extensive opportunities available.
The new centre is on School Drive is next to the current Dolphin Centre which set to be bulldozed after November 1. That process is due to be completed by Christmas when the rest of the car parking for the new centre will then be created. Up until then, the School Drive car park will service the new centre.
When we visited on Tuesday there looked like there was still a lot to do to get it open in eight weeks time.
“Visible progress is being made on a daily basis and we have every confidence that it will be completed in time to open on November 1,” added Mr Godwin.