An impressive new health and wellbeing centre has opened its doors to existing members in Newcastle-under-Lyme. When it opens to the general public on January 2nd 2012, the state-of-the-art Jubilee 2 centre will make important exercise facilities more accessible for the local community.
The £10.5m centre was designed by the WM Saunders Partnership and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council (NBC) worked alongside NHS Staffordshire and Sport England. Main contractors for the project were Morgan Sindall.
Funding for the project came from three main sources. The majority of the project was funded by the council via a capital programme, whilst the local primary care trust donated £500,000 and Sport England donated £400,000.
Named by the local community, the centre is the result of close interaction with residents and businesses. Morgan Sindall employed 52% of its workforce from local businesses and scored an impressive 36 out of 40 points in the Considerate Constructors scheme. Their efforts included communicating with nearby residents and businesses, daily litter picks, regular road sweeping and sociable working hours.
The three-storey centre features an impressive glass facade and has incorporated a number of sustainable features, including the use of wood from sustainable Scandinavian forests for the glulam beams. In addition, the centre features waterless urinals, underground heat pumps and photovoltaic cells.
On the first floor, there are two swimming pools. One of these is a 25m eight-lane pool with a seating area for 200 to 250 people and the other is a learner pool with an adjustable floor. Depending on the requirements of the learner, the floor may be adjusted from virtually nothing to 1.5m.
In addition to a 100-station fitness suite, there is a large flexible space that can be divided into two multiuse studios for classes such as Zumba and boxercise. Further facilities include an aqua sauna, foot spa and juice bar.
Interestingly, the project has also incorporated an impressive exhibition space named ‘Perspectives’, which will be turned over to local artists to create art with a health and wellbeing theme.
Exterior landscaping has included tree planting along the frontage of Brunswick Street, which lies in part of the town centre conservation area.
Perhaps the most exciting feature is a 14m climbing wall, which is estimated to be the highest wall in Staffordshire. There is also a 4m bouldering wall with more than seventy different routes and grades.
Phil Jones, Head of Communications at the borough council, joked: “It’s terrifying; I really can’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to do anything like that.
“On a serious note, the key aim of this project is to try and improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. Sadly, there are some parts of the borough where people have a significantly shorter life expectancy than those living just a few miles away.
“What the council and its partners want to do is make exercise and healthy options available to everyone. This isn’t just about elite athletes – it’s about residents, which is why the council has invested such a significant amount of money in this project.
“There won’t be a formal opening – instead, we will be holding something called a ‘Come and Try’ event on the 7th of January. Double Olympic medallist Nick Gillingham will swim with the community, whilst the former 5000m world record holder Dave Moorcroft will also be attending.
“We want to talk to people about the Olympics and their aspirations, but also about how facilities like this can help people in their general lives. It’s not all about people who want to compete professionally; it’s about the community too.”