A £5m transformation of Salt Ayre Leisure Centre has helped employ new staff and bring a welcome boost to the economy, say council officials.
The project has added 15 new members of staff since a major refurbishment began on the Lancaster centre last year.
New staff and 60 existing employees have undergone a vigorous training programme to get to grips with the new facilities.
The transformation has already seen hundreds of visitors attend and Lancaster City Council, who own Salt Ayre, is expecting more people to visit over the coming months.
“Salt Ayre Sports Centre has always been a very well used public facility but was starting to show its age,” said Coun Darren Clifford, cabinet member with responsibility for sport and leisure.
“No longer can we be the traditional municipal sports centre; we need to provide a better range of facilities if we are to encourage people here to spend their leisure time.
“What we’ve been able to deliver so far is superb and the reviews we’re getting are excellent, and there’s still much more to come.”
Around £1.2m has been spent upgrading the new gym, which opened last week, and includes the relocation of the fitness suite, equipment, provision of an immersive spin studio, introduction of a new functional training facility and a new outdoor fitness area.
The immersive studio which cost £100k from the £1.2m budget includes a class called Trip, a virtual reality instructed spin session.
Trip visitors can ride static bikes through virtual streets of New York and also take part in a race in space.
Other new facilities include XHeight indoor climbing, Energy indoor soft play area, a cafe, a 100 station gym, previously 30 stations, member’s suite changing facility and steam room, a refurb of toilets and changing rooms, Gravity outdoor flight tower (completed February 2017), an indoor functional training area (completed Spring 2017), an outdoor training facility (completed Summer 2017) and a spa (completed Autumn 2017).
The spa will include a feature shower, high end changing accommodation, a community hub, a fitness suite particularly aimed at people who have various physical abilities/limitations and will also include four rooms for beauty treatments.
The council has taken the £5m from reserves and not revenue budgets.
“The refurbishment will increase income and decrease the cost of providing the service, putting the centre on a better financial footing for the future,” said Coun Clifford.