Pickaquoy Centre project is progressing swimmingly

A new state-of-the-art swimming pool is about to be completed at the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall in theOrkney Islands.

The existing development has been extended onto part of the car park and the project has utilised the site of an existing allweatherpitch, which has in turn been relocated to the outer playing fields behind the centre. New facilities will include a six-lane competition pool, leisure pool and toddlers’ pool, along with a spectator area and viewing galleries. In addition, there will be a health suite, a multi-purpose area and squash courts.

Morrison Construction is the design and build contractor for the scheme, for Orkney Islands Council.

Interestingly, the development has been designed to incorporate a certain degree of transparency. The use of translucent insulated sandwich panels will allow external visitors to view the activities taking place within the centre, whilst the development also features a glazed feature frontage with a northerly aspect.

The 25 metre six-lane competition pool will have a 25 metre moveable floor. With depths ranging from 0 metres to 2 metres, the pool will be suitable for a variety of activities including swimming lessons, basic diving,recreational swimming and competition training. The pool will also benefit from a 140-seat spectator gallery, which will allow full viewing of the main competition pool.

A freeform leisure pool with a beach area and minor leisure enhancements will also be provided. The depth will vary from 0 metres to 0.9 metres and the water will be slightly warmer than that of the main competition pool.

Also included in the scheme is a separate toddlers’ pool, which will provide an area for young people to gain confidence in the water.

Additional facilities include a new health suite, which will incorporate a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Three new squash courts will also be provided, along with an additional viewing space and a social area for squash competitors. Due to the clever layout of the facility, walls can be moved to create a multifunctional space for use in doubles events, subsequently making it possible to play other sports such as basketball and table tennis if desired.

The 60-week project is due to be completed in July 2012.


It is believed that the Beacon will attract a much broader cross section of the Inverclyde community.


Julie Ellen said: “It’s a rare treat to open a new arts centre in Scotland, so it is a testament to all the partners and directors who have come together to provide a public facility of this kind. The Beacon is aimed at everybody and we have a number of initiatives in place to provide more for the young people of Inverclyde.

“A project like this is a landmark development in Greenock and we hope that the building creates a huge impact once it opens.”

Work is progressing well on the site, with the project due to reach completion in July 2012.

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