Major improvement works are being carried out at the Sunderland Aquatic and Wellness Centre and Raich Carter Sports Centre, as part of a £1.8million partnership investment from Sunderland City Council and Everyone Active.
The refurbishments are set to significantly improve facilities at both centres, which are now being managed by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active, in partnership with the council.
£1.3 million is being spent on the Sunderland Aquatic and Wellness Centre, which will fund improvements being made to the its reception and fitness areas and dance studios. The reception area will receive a complete makeover with re-painting, new flooring and a new entry/exit system. A new café pod will also be built.
Significant changes will be made to the centre’s fitness area, on both its upper and lower levels, to create more space. The area’s existing Kenisis room, ‘spin’ room and two customer pods will be removed and the central open floor area will be filled to make additional space on the first floor. Brand new Technogym equipment will be provided on both floors to offer members the very best fitness experience. In addition, both the fitness area and changing areas will be repainted and will receive new mirrors and flooring to give a fresh new look.
A new virtual group cycling area will also be created, which will be used for both “live” and “virtual” group cycling classes. The existing dance studios will also be upgraded with one becoming a virtual studio, offering a variety of new classes.
The remaining £500,000 will be spent on Raich Carter Sports Centre to improve its fitness area and create a brand new group exercise studio.
The fitness area is being extended to create more space. A large, open plan gym with dedicated cardio and a weights area will replace the centre’s two existing smaller gyms. These will then be transformed into a dedicated studio with a spring floor and mirrored wall. New equipment will be provided for all classes.
The centre’s changing facilities are also being renovated, with the installation of new shower cubicles, flooring and lockers. Most of the centre’s communal areas on the ground floor will also benefit from the refurbishment, with the reception area receiving new flooring, paint and entry/exit systems. The café will also be refurbished with new flooring, tables and chairs. The final phase of the work will also include improvements to the changing facilities for the swimming pool.
Work at both centres began in June 2015. Work at Sunderland Aquatic and Wellness Centre is expected to continue until 28th August 2015 and the final phase of work at Raich Carter Sports Centre is expected to be completed in December 2015.
Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: “When the City Council announced it was creating a joint venture company, one of the priorities was continuing Sunderland’s track record of investment in sports and leisure facilities
“I’m very pleased to say that these investments at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre and Raich Carter are going to further improve two already fantastic facilities.
“Investments and improvements such as these help increase activity levels across the city by building on work already underway through programmes such as Active Sunderland.
“All this helps improve people’s health and wellbeing, make a positive difference to people’s lives, and keeps our city at the top of the league for its first-class facilities.”
Ian Bradgate, Everyone Active’s contract manager for the centres, commented: “Work is well underway at both centres and it’s fantastic to see the improvements already starting to take shape.
“The council has invested more than £60m in new and replacement sports and leisure facilities in Sunderland since 2004, which has gone a lot way to improving the health and wellbeing of its local communities. The plans for Sunderland Aquatic and Wellness Centre and Raich Carter Sports Centre are fantastic and we’re looking forward to seeing the end result. As expected, however, in order for these developments to take place, there will be periods when these areas will not be available to use.
“We have informed members at both centres about the work being carried out and have offered alternative solutions for those wanting to use the facilities being refurbished during these periods. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time.”
In February 2015, Sunderland City Council announced Everyone Active as its new leisure partner. In June 2015, the leisure operator took over the management of Sunderland Aquatic and Wellness Centre, Raich Carter Sports Centre, Hetton Community Pool and Wellness Centre, Houghton Sports Centre and Wellness Centre, Seaburn Centre and Wellness Centre, Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope and the newly built Washington Leisure Centre.