Contractors continue with leisure centre demolition

Contractors continue with leisure centre demolition

6 February 2019

WORK is progressing at pace to demolish the old Down Leisure Centre in Downpatrick.

Contractors are razing the old building to the ground as its £16m replacement continues to break membership records, with additional staff drafted in to cope with the volume of people coming through the doors.

Four decades after the old centre opened, it is being reduced to a pile of rubble as the soaraway success of its ultra-modern replacement continues, with users flocking in their droves and membership doubling within a week.

The old centre was the first major leisure complex built in the district and was one of the most modern of its kind when the doors opened for business, boasting a new swimming pool and a suite of other facilities, including a large sports hall.

Contractors in charge of the demolition began work shortly before Christmas and over the past few weeks have made significant progress. 

The old sports hall has been razed to the ground with contractors currently using heavy equipment to demolish the old swimming pools and reception area.

The old centre was a major community hub and in addition to meeting the district’s leisure needs, the large hall hosted many community events including public rallies, former Down Council election counts, drama productions and even concerts featuring a host of local artists.

While the centre had long since passed its sell-by-date, the former Down Council was keen to replace it and the work the local authority started was completed by its successor, Newry, Mourne and Down Council.

The old centre closed for the final time at the end of November, 38 years after it opened. Within a week of its multi-million pound replacement opening for business, membership numbers doubled.

The stunning new three-storey facility boasts a range of facilities which would rival any of those more commonly found in leisure complexes attached to five star hotels.

Boasting ultra-modern equipment, the magnificent and futuristic 6,100 square metre centre heralds an exciting new dawn in the history of leisure provision across the district with facilities including an 85 station wellness gymnasium featuring the latest equipment.

There is also a 26-station spin studio, 25-metre six-lane swimming pool, luxury vitality health suite including a sauna, steam room and vitality pool. There are sports halls and multi-purpose space and a teaching pool with moveable floor.

The impressive health suite also comes with its own dedicated relaxation area with council officials delighted with the new centre, in particular, the new teaching pool which will allow the complex to provide a lot more swimming classes and education training for teachers, allowing full access to the main pool for other swimmers.

Council officials have described the new leisure complex as an important strategic project as it will contribute towards the economic and social development of the district.

An extensive range of membership packages are available to encourage residents to be active and take advantage of the ultra-modern facilities, with the local authority setting itself a goal of integrating physical activity into people’s everyday routine.

Council officials say they anticipated that there would be a massive influx of users when the new centre opened and are delighted with the success of the new £16m facility.