New £5.3m Durham University sports centre opens its doors
(20 October 2010)
A new £5.3million sports centre has opened its doors to students, staff and the general public at Durham University's Queen's Campus in Stockton.
The centre is part of a £12million investment made this year by the University to ensure its sports facilities reflect Durham's status as a world 'Top-100' University.
Facilities include a multi-use, eight-court sports hall, a fitness suite featuring high-tech cardio-vascular and resistance machines, and a dedicated ergometer room with eight ergo rowing machines. There will also be multi-activity studios, including a spinning room and dance studio.
Outdoor facilities include a floodlit Astroturf pitch and a new boathouse on the River Tees to ensure that Durham maintains its seven-year reign as the leading rowing University in the UK.
The new Stockton sports centre was officially opened by Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University.
The opening was followed by a basketball match between Durham University and Northumbria University, two of the UK's elite university basketball teams.
Supported by a team of highly-qualified fitness professionals, the centre will become home to the University's teams in badminton, basketball, netball and volleyball, as well as allowing it to expand its community outreach work.
Local community groups will be able to use the facilities, and dedicated programmes will also be offered, such as gym sessions for ladies from the local Asian community.
Durham's community sports schemes, which last academic year were assisted by more than 175 student volunteers across the University, will also use the new facilities to help tackle social problems, raise aspirations and get people involved in sport who might not otherwise get involved.
Durham is one of the country's leading universities combining sport participation, performance sport and sport outreach.
Twenty-seven of Durham's current students represent their country. For example, third-year student Kira Roberts won a Gold medal in fencing at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month and second-year student Holly Colvin has already earned a World Cup winner's medal with the England Women's cricket team.
Former students of Durham University who have gone on to sporting greatness include England cricket captains Nasser Hussein and Andrew Strauss, Olympic Gold medallist Jonathan Edwards, and England Rugby captains Phil de Glanville and Will Carling.
Just as importantly, alumni such as Steve Harman, President of Shell, Steve Easterbrook, Global Chief Brand Officer at McDonalds, and Paul Hawkins who developed the computerised 'Hawkeye' refereeing aid used in cricket and tennis, were also leaders in sport at their time in Durham, illustrating how skills developed on the pitch can benefit students' future careers.
Durham University's Director of Sport, Dr Peter Warburton, said: "We are delighted with the new sports centre development at Queen's Campus. Whilst providing excellent facilities for our staff and students it will also allow us to develop further our community partnerships for the benefit of the Teesside and Durham communities.
"Having this facility next door to the world class white water complex opposite the Campus on the River Tees makes this a particularly exciting development and helps us build upon the University's already considerable success in sport."
Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: "Sport helps our students develop the team working and leadership skills to succeed in employment and life.
"Durham is now recognised as one of the top 25 universities in the world by elite employers for the quality of our graduates, and in addition to academic success, sport and other activities contribute much to the extracurricular skills and employability of our students."
The Queen's sports centre development is part of an ongoing £100m investment to enhance the University's estate which includes a major modern library extension, a premier building for Durham's leading international Law School, the Palatine Centre for student support services and refurbishment of University facilities on Durham University's UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also included in the current redevelopment is a £6.7m improvement of sports facilities at Maiden Castle in Durham, which will be a training base for international athletes at the 2012 Olympics.
For further information about the new Queen's Campus Sports Centre contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 334 0145