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Major work to expand popular sports complex set to begin
(6 February 2018)
Work to further enhance popular complex is set to begin within weeks.
Durham University is making a £35 million investment in its sports facilities, for both student and community use.
A new rubber crumb pitch has already been installed in the middle of an existing athletics track at Maiden Castle, near Durham City, and a hockey pitch upgraded.
Works to improve parking facilities and access to the site from the A177 are nearing completion and a second hockey pitch will be upgraded this summer.
A second phase of the programme, comprising major indoor facility developments and two beach volleyball courts, is set to begin in April 2018, after Durham County Council approved the proposals at its meeting on Tuesday 6 February.
Developing new sports facilities available to students, community groups and local residents is part of Durham’s University Strategy, 2017-2027 to deliver world-class research-education and wider student experience.
Maiden Castle currently hosts 15 community clubs, engaging more than 2,000 local residents each week. In addition, the University hosts and delivers many junior development programmes, including the Durham County Institute of Sport, an initiative that supports around 100 of the County’s most promising young athletes.
The new investment will benefit both staff and students and enhance the University’s role as a hub for local and regional sport. Community use of Maiden Castle will increase from around 250 hours per week to over 700 hours per week in University term-time and over 800 hours per week during University vacations.
Bringing people together through sport
Jane Robinson, Chief Operating Officer at Durham University, said: “We are proud that Durham University combines world-class research and education with an outstanding student experience.
“Sport is key to that, with over three-quarters of our students participating in sport at some level. This new investment will both allow our high-performing athletes to compete at the top levels of university sport and beyond, whilst creating more space for students to take up a new sport or enjoy physical activity in their leisure time.
“We know Maiden Castle is also extremely popular with many local residents and community groups, and we are proud of the positive role we play bringing people together through sport and physical activity.
“This development will increase community use of Maiden Castle by over 450 hours per week, across sports and activities such as cricket, martial arts, badminton, volleyball, indoor hockey, basketball, netball and fitness classes. We have a number of specific community sport initiatives that we are looking forward to launching with National Governing Bodies and local and regional partners - this facility development will truly be transformative.
“We are very pleased that Durham County Council has supported our vision for Maiden Castle. We are looking forward to work on phase two beginning on site and all the new facilities being ready for September 2019.”
The new indoor space will include a 12 badminton court sports hall with spectator provision, a five-lane cricket hall, a purpose-built martial arts studio, a 90-station fitness suite with additional strength and conditioning provision and a sports laboratory, which will house the University’s academic Sport Degree programme.
There will also be social learning and club room spaces including an expanded café.
A changing pavilion and two beach volleyball courts will be developed to the south-east of the sports centre building.