A new £6m sports hall is to be created at Lancaster University.
Adding to recent investments in Strength and Conditioning facilities and a Human Performance Laboratory, the new 1,347 m2 hall, which will be in addition to the existing sports hall and is fully funded by the university itself, will accommodate a variety of full-size courts including a basketball court and eight badminton courts.
The new sports hall, which will encourage more people from within the university and the local community to engage in sports activities, will be completed in time to host the opening fixtures of the 2020 Roses sporting event and will feature retractable seating with the capacity to seat more than 500 people.
Kim Montgomery, Head of Sport at Lancaster University, said: “These spaces will enable us to increase our recreational sports offering and the availability of our facilities to competitive teams, while also offering a facility of national significance capable of staging major sporting events.”
Tim Casselden of JM Architects, the appointed architect behind the plans, said: “Building on Lancaster University’s national reputation as a leading sports provider, the sports hall extension introduces a new, high calibre sporting venue within a bold and distinctive design.
“The development complements the existing sports centre, combining an increase in flexible sports provision with the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of a sports arena atmosphere.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mark E. Smith, and key members from the university joined the project team to participate in a ceremonial tree planting to mark the start of the project.
The first stage of construction will include the removal of 100 trees to create space for the new sports hall.
A tree-planting scheme that will commit to planting 800 native broadleaf trees nearby will mitigate this loss.
Prof Smith said: “As a university we are extremely committed to environmental management. The planting of 830 new trees is part of the Uuniversity’s ambitious Woodland Management Plan.”
Removal of the trees is scheduled to start from June 24, with construction of the new facility starting in July, continuing to spring 2020.
Local Preston company Conlon Construction Ltd has been appointed to undertake the construction of the building.
Conlon has more than 50 years’ experience in working on large-scale, multi-million pound projects including the creation of the M6 in the 1960s.
Darren Lee, commercial director at Conlon Construction Ltd, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be involved in this project. We will be generating a number of local employment opportunities and will be inviting local pupils and University students to visit the site and witness the progress. Hopefully our collaborative approach will inspire the next generation of construction professionals.”