A champion swimmer has become the first to dive into the pool at a new multi-million-pound north-east sports facility.
Double Commonwealth champion, European and World Medallist and triple Olympic swimmer Hannah Miley took a dip in the new swimming pool at the £55 million Inverurie Community Campus ahead of it opening to the public tomorrow.
It was hoped that the new community campus, which will also house Inverurie Academy, would open its doors to pupils and members of the public in Spring 2020.
But the ambitious project to provide a modern school to replace the ageing building on the site was hit with delays.
Construction workers were forced to down tools as a result of lockdown restrictions brought in to tackle the pandemic in March, but a practical completion certificate was issued by the independent tester at the end of August, meaning building work was complete, allowing for snagging and preparations to commence for the transition of Aberdeenshire Council employees and services.
The Aberdeenshire Council project is being delivered through developers’ hub North Scotland and built by Robertson, who has been working to an agreed set of safe operating procedures since work re-mobilised earlier this summer.
Construction activities now switch to the demolition of the old facilities and the completion of the external works, including the all-weather pitches.
The impressive new campus will become home to Inverurie Academy following the October holiday break.
Hannah grew up in the area and was very familiar with the pool and the old facility next door, so was all too happy to test out the new one.
She said: “I joined the swimming club aged five or six and I couldn’t wait until I turned eight, so I could go to a public or fun session with my friends. We would turn up with our £1 coin to pay to get in.
“It’s great to come back and see what clubs now have to train in, this new facility will be highly beneficial for them, great for local athletes and for the community.
“There’s lots of space, high ceilings and you can come and feel comfortable getting activity done, getting an endorphin boost, and it’s really important for the community to have that outlet, to be able to do what they feel is right for them.
“I hope the range and quality of facilities on offer here will also encourage people to try something they maybe haven’t tried before.”
Community leisure officer Gordon Young has worked at the old pool for 27 years and Hannah’s visit brought back memories of her training there.
He said: “I’ve watched her achievements over the years proudly and it’s hard to fathom the level of dedication Hannah has, but she’s proof of what you can achieve if you work hard enough.
“It’s a complete transformation from what we had and all the staff are keen to welcome swimmers old and new to the centre, putting a lot of effort in to make sure their visit is pleasurable and safe and we hope they’ll come back again and again.”
The pool will open from tomorrow with access for local swimming clubs and the public. The full opening of all the sports and community facilities at the campus will be confirmed in due course.
People will be able to book a swim in the new pool, but slots will initially be limited, and demand is expected to be high. The capacity of the pool for public swimming will gradually be increased throughout October.
Swimming lessons across Aberdeenshire continue to be suspended until such time as these can be offered safely.
Live Life Aberdeenshire has been able to reopen many of its sports and leisure facilities with customer safety in mind, including pools, fitness rooms and sports courts.
Click and Collect and home delivery services are also available from libraries, with public PC access at some locations.
For more information and to see how to book, visit bit.ly/LLAWBack