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Work completed on new leisure centre at Woodside – on target and in budget!

Kevin Snow06th May 2008

The official handover of the new Watford Leisure Centre WOODSIDE by construction firm Pellikaan to Watford Borough Council has taken place.

Handover of WoodsideTo mark the occasion, a plaque was unveiled by Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill and Gerard Pellikaan, owner of the construction company Pellikaan, together with Councillor Ann Shaw, Leader of Three Rivers District Council.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Mayor Thornhill said: “I’m delighted that the new leisure centre here at Woodside has been built on time and to budget. Looking around the completed centre today, it is clear to see that we made good decisions about quality. It will provide unrivalled facilities in the local area. This new leisure centre is as close in quality to a private club facility as you can get, without impacting on our good value membership fees. I know that our leisure operator is very pleased to have such brilliant new facilities – and so am I. After all, Watford people are worth it!”

Gerard Pellikaan added: “The teamwork between the design team, consultants and Watford Borough Council has been exceptional. It is great to see the new centre today, knowing such attention was given to user and resident feedback as well as to environmental issues such as reduction of carbon emission.”

Inside the new multi-million complex is a 25 metre swimming pool equipped with a state of the art moveable floor. This means that if there is a water polo competition for example, the floor can be lowered. There is also a 20 metre learner pool.

The new centre is also to be kitted out with 100 station gym fitness suite, with a giant sports hall that can accommodate indoor football, badminton, netball, volleyball and basketball and facilities. The eight court hall is equipped with a 200 seat mini stand as well as ceiling harness allowing trampolinists to practise.

Other facilities include three dance studios, four squash courts, treatment rooms, sauna, toning tables, café, function room, crèche and changing facilities – wet and dry.

The task of kitting out the new state-of-the-art centre with treadmills, weight benches and massage tables now commences, together with an intensive training programme for newly recruited staff. The centre will open on Saturday 7 June 2008.

Work at Watford Leisure Centre CENTRAL at Hempstead Road is also on target and is due to open in August. The majority of funding for the centres - £21 million – has come from Watford Borough Council, with a further £2million coming from Three Rivers District Council for the Woodside project as many of their residents also use this facility.

Leader of Three Rivers Council, Councillor Ann Shaw, said: "We all know the health benefits and enjoyment of exercise - but first class facilities and a competition sized swimming pool make the experience that much more fun.

"Careful financial management is essential. By working together, Watford has achieved a competition sized pool and all Three Rivers residents have discounted access to excellent new facilities, including the pool. This will be especially welcome to residents in the north of the district.
Sustainability and energy saving have, of course, been a vital ingredient in the project."

During the initial planning stages for the new leisure centres, the Council met with residents and various sports clubs who use leisure facilities to find out precisely their requirements for the new facilities.

Council officers were asked by the Mayor to ensure that the leisure centres have a strong sustainable agenda, with the designs demonstrating advanced low and renewable energy technologies. The sustainable elements of the building will increase its long term viability, both in terms of a reduction in carbon emissions and in running costs. Some examples include high insulation levels, roof mounted solar thermal panels, rainwater recycling and ground-linked heat recovery systems to reclaim heat from air and water. The extended ground source heat pump system, using boreholes of approximately 100 metres deep, enables use of the natural heat of the earth. The system also re-uses excess heat generated by cooling. Furthermore, heat loss and emission of carbon dioxide by air leakage were reduced significantly. For this project, a higher standard was required of only 50% of the leakage allowed by Building Control. Together with Studio E Architects and Building Science Limited, Pellikaan developed the building envelope, resulting in an impressive rate of only 29% of the leakage allowed by Building Control.

Garry Stewart from Studio E Architects said: “Both of the new state-of-the-art leisure facilities will have a dramatic impact on Watford. Sustainability has been a key consideration in the design of the operationally innovative buildings, both of which have significant renewable energy features.”