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East Midlands Chamber News

First Look At University’s Proposed Premier Sports Centre

artist's impression of new sports centrePlanning permission for a multi-million pound University of Derby sports centre is being sought – with the first artist’s impressions of the building released to the public.

The proposed two-storey structure would be built into the existing eight-metre grass bank around the main playing field, at the University’s Kedleston Road site in Derby.

The sports centre will include a main hall, a fitness gym and associated strength and conditioning area, dance studio, squash and badminton courts, an internal climbing wall, a 50-metre sprint track, changing rooms, a cafe and offices.

A planning application is currently being considered by Derby City Council, which is consulting the public. Related documents and artist’s impressions are on the authority’s website. The University is hoping for application approval within the next few weeks.

Architects firm William Saunders (with offices in Wirksworth and Newark) designed the building. A main contractor to deliver the project – at an estimated cost of around £9m – will be chosen, after tendering.

By building the sports centre into an existing grass bank, giving it a green-coloured curved roof and re-using any excavated material for surrounding ramps, it’s hoped that its environmental and visual impact will be minimised.

The facility will be built to BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) standards, widely used as a method to assess buildings’ sustainability. Combined heat and power (CHP), and low carbon technologies are being investigated to produce its heating and lighting, to make it highly energy efficient.

An exhibition of the sports centre plans was held for nearby residents and businesses in September, attended by the University’s Estates team and William Saunders’ architects.

If approved, building work on the sports centre is expected to begin in January (2014). It would open for business in early 2015.

The sports centre’s primary use would be for staff and students but – as with current University sports facilities such as its football and tennis pitches in Derby, and outdoor centre linked to the Buxton Campus – there will be opportunities for use by affiliated sports organisations, schools and the wider community.

Hari Punchihewa, University Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director, said: “As part of the University’s sports strategy it’s important to have a modern, multi-purpose sports centre to provide the necessary student facilities. This building meets that requirement.

“We are serious about sports and also our environmental responsibilities, which is why we asked the centre architects to design with sustainable materials and low carbon technologies in mind.”

Ian Willgoose, Director of Estates at the University of Derby, added: “The sports provision at the University has been steadily improving, and that’s reflected in the success of our teams and the University’s Team Derby initiative. This state-of-the-art centre will benefit all our students but particularly those on sports-related and sports science degree courses.”