Derby City Council has now approved plans for the centre – expected to cost around £10m – which will be built into the existing eight-metre high grass bank around the bottom playing field, at the University’s main Kedleston Road site in Derby.
Work on the three-storey structure is scheduled to begin within the next couple of months, with the sports centre set to open by spring 2015.
The sports centre will include a main hall, a fitness gym and associated strength and conditioning area, studios, squash and badminton courts, an internal climbing wall, sprint track, changing rooms, treatment rooms and a cafe.
Architects’ firm William Saunders, of Newark, designed the building, which will be a stand out feature. Currently the tenders are being evaluated and the main contractor to deliver the project will be announced soon.
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 is hoped that its environmental and visual impact will be minimised.
The facility will be built to a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) standard, widely used as a method to assess buildings’ sustainability. Low carbon technologies are being investigated to produce its heating and lighting, and make it highly energy efficient, to reaffirm the University’s commitment to protecting the environment.
The sports centre’s primary use would be for staff and students but – as with a number of the University’s sports facilities – there will be opportunities for use by affiliated sports organisations, schools and the wider community.
Hari Punchihewa, University of Derby Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director, said: “We are delighted that planning permission has been granted for the new sports centre.
“We are serious about sport and it is going from strength to strength at the University, through our Team Derby brand. It is important for us to have a modern, multi-purpose centre for both leisure pursuits and to aid those studying sports-related academic courses.”
Ian Willgoose, Director of Estates at the University of Derby, added: “In keeping with our previous sports facilities projects, this centre will be both state of the art and built in an environmentally responsible manner.”