A very special new community centre is under construction in Lochgelly, Fife.
The new Benarty Community Centre is more than just a community centre. The new facility will incorporate: a library, council services office space, a 200-capacity function suite with bar facilities and a sports hall and gymnasium with shower and changing facilities. In addition, there will be a youth room, child care and crèche facilities, exhibition space, a café and a local police centre.
Joe McGuinness, Fife Council, explained:
“It’s a community centre and more. The council are looking at reducing the number of buildings that they occupy and investing in buildings where need is greatest. The new Nen Benarty Community Centre will replace three existing community centres, a separate library, a local council office and a police station.
“All council services will move into the new centre, which will also provide all of the activities you would expect from a community centre, such as adult learning classes, youth activities, leisure and recreational opportunities and out of school childcare provision.”
The £3.81 million building has been designed in consultation with the existing members of the community centre. The project has involved rigorous consultation with members of the community, along with existing users of the facilities and the staff that will move into the new centre.
The single-storey building features a steel frame with timber panel infill and a masonry external skin. The roof is a combination of full pitched standing seam roofing, sheet roofing and flat roof membrane, whilst the floors consist of concrete beams and block work and feature under-floor heating. The external finish is a mixture of facing brick and facing block work with smooth rendered panels and a selection of contrasting textures. The centre has been built to BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standards.
Exterior landscaping will include car parking space, shrub beds and tree planting. In addition, the existing football pitch has been preserved and Fife Council plans to develop outdoor sports facilities at a later date.
Joe McGuinness said:
“This is a community-led project and it is the first community centre to be built by Fife Council in 30 years. It is a radical project in the sense of what we’re trying to do, which is make all of the local services available and accessible under one roof.
“We have been working with the local community throughout the project and have developed a real partnership, with the community taking the lead all of the way. What we’re creating is something that the community already has ownership of.”
Construction began in summer 2011 and is expected to be complete in July 2012.