New leisure complex is on course

An impression of the swimming pool at the new Craigavon Leisure Centre.
An impression of the swimming pool at the new Craigavon Leisure Centre.

A PROJECT ‘sponsor’ for the proposed new £25m leisure centre at Craigavon is being sought by the council, which expects to complete the complex by the end of 2015.

Earmarked for council property somewhere on the South Lake at Craigavon, the council is also seeking a design team which it hopes to appoint before the end of the summer.

The recently advertised post of project sponsor comes with a salary of between £40,000 - £50,000 and is a fixed term three-year contract.

According to Rutledge Recruitment who are dealing with the application, “The project sponsor will be the senior member of staff on the project.”

A council spokesperson said, “A ‘Project Sponsor’ post has been advertised and the council is also currently tendering for a design team.

“The Project Sponsor is a highly specialised post and will be responsible for the ongoing management of the new leisure centre build and will ensure that the project objectives are delivered within the agreed time, quality and cost constraints.

“The costs for this post have already been secured from the £25 million capital budget and it is anticipated that this position will be appointed by June 2013,” said a council spokesperson.

“Council is also currently tendering for a design team to design the new leisure centre and to take the project to a stage where a contractor can be appointed. When the design team is appointed a planning application will then be submitted for the project.”

The council said the new centre will be located on a site close to the South Lake in Craigavon, however the exact location has not yet been decided. This is land owned by the council and it is expected the design team, when appointed, will choose the building’s location.

A council spokesperson said, “As well as advising on the best location they will also draw up plans and images of what the new leisure centre will look like.

“It is anticipated that the design team will be in place by the end of the summer.

“The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.”

The budget for the new leisure centre was initially set at £30m but, according to council, more recent projections have indicated that a cost of £25m is achievable.

The new leisure centre will have a wide range of facilities including an eight-lane 50 metre pool which can be divided into smaller pool spaces via moveable booms; a separate learning pool and fun pool with a range of water features; a large multi-purpose sports hall; a large modern gym with health suite facilities; squash courts; multi-use activity and meeting rooms; children’s soft play area; café; six five-a-side synthetic pitches outside.

Craigavon Borough Council is replacing its three existing older centres at Cascades in Portadown, Craigavon Leisure Centre at Brownlow and Waves in Lurgan.

“Council is also emphasising its commitment in the interim to the three existing leisure centres whose staff will continue to offer customers a high class service in the five years that it will take to design and build the new super centre.

“Council has set aside resources to ensure that these buildings remain open until the new super centre is built,” the spokeswoman added.

The council discovered during an extensive public consultation with schools and clubs 70 per cent of respondents were in favour of the new single leisure centre.

The council also said the new centre will be able to accommodate all users including schools and clubs.