A STATE-OF-THE-ART £21million sports and leisure facility has completed in Pontefract, West Yorkshire thanks to leading architecture studio GT3 Architects and national contractor Willmott Dixon.
Aspire@ThePark offers state-of-the-art sports facilities to five towns surrounding Wakefield city and rivals that of private leisure centres, bringing world-class facilities to the local community. As well as a new 100 station fitness suite and multi-use studio, the scheme also boasts a 10-lane 25m swimming pool, climbing zone, café, and full size 3G football pitch. The project was part funded by Sport England and had to meet detailed criteria around their SOPG aspirations.
The scheme was designed by GT3 Architects – following in-depth consultations with local sports clubs, residents, and community groups to ensure the building met the needs of the community – and constructed by Willmott Dixon for Wakefield Council.
Mark Gowdridge, director at GT3 Architects, said: “This scheme presented a great opportunity to create a long-standing legacy for Wakefield, Pontefract, and the surrounding areas. From schematics to completion, we employed our Community+ service to ensure that the scheme broke the traditional mould for leisure centres and offered something different through design.
“The vision was to create a connection between the internal and external spaces from a wellbeing and sport activity perspective. These aims have been met and the project team have done an amazing job.
“Collaborating with Willmott Dixon on Aspire@ThePark really helped us to ensure the project ran smoothly and we could deliver a wide range of facilities within a unique and interesting design.”
Sitting in the heart of Pontefract Park, the centre’s gym and sports pitches capitalises on the stunning park views and surrounding land, much of which has been preserved to maximise on the existing green space.
The design, which utilised a natural palette to blend the building into its surrounding, features a complex curved façade comprised of vertical timber panels. Curved windows provide varying levels of visibility for different areas of the facility and connect the space, creating a focal point for social interaction.
Cllr Jack Hemingway, Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “I’m delighted with how the plans have come together and this is an excellent addition to the district’s leisure offer, giving residents the purpose built, state of the art facilities they deserve. People will be able to access sport, recreation and wellbeing activities at the centre and the wider park so they can enjoy healthy lifestyles. This is so important for our residents and I know that this facility will be used and enjoyed for many generations to come.”
Procured through the Scape framework, Aspire@ThePark is the latest in a series of leisure schemes worth more than £200m that Willmott Dixon has delivered in the last three years.
Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in North, said: “This really is an exciting and important facility built by and for local people, and we’re proud to say we have invested more than £15.7m of the project spend with businesses in the local area.
“We think the local community will be proud of Aspire@ThePark for generations to come. The creation of top-quality leisure facilities to encourage health and wellbeing are vital to help our communities thrive. Aspire@ThePark combines that with a new community space that will bring people together.”
The development has recently opened its doors to the public in line with government guidance. For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects