Bridgnorth Endowed Leisure Centre’s eagerly-awaited new changing rooms opened on Friday 10 November, to reveal a truly dramatic transformation.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, led by Bridgnorth Endowed School’s Chair of Governors, Mark Freathy, marked the end of a challenging two-year refurbishment programme, which cost over £600,000 and culminated in a fight to save the pool from closure.
He said: “It has been a long, costly and sometimes difficult journey, from the discovery that the steel roof pillars were in such poor condition to this point, where all the essential work has been done and the refurbishment completed.”
“Thanks to the support of our partners in Halo Leisure, funding from the Department of Education and Sport England, and the incredible efforts of the local community, the leisure centre can now reopen fully.”
Halo’s Partnership Manager, Alex Haines, commented: “We’re thrilled with the refurb at Bridgnorth. It’s testament to the hard work and determination of everyone involved, that this project has come together to create such a fantastic resource, benefiting students and local residents, young and old.”
During the event, special thanks were given to Bridgnorth mother-of-two, Nancy Brown, who headed up the fundraising campaign and played an instrumental role in bringing the project over the line.
She worked tirelessly to secure funding to bridge the £70,000 shortfall, and even went on to raise extra money for the condemned hoist, replacing it with a ‘Poolpod’ – the latest in swimming pool lift technology.
She reported: “The generosity of local people and businesses has been overwhelming, and the town was 100% behind the drive to get the pool reopened as soon as possible.”
The task of transforming the previous changing facilities, which were in a very bad state, went to Midlands contractors, Openspace Design and Build, and Bridgnorth-based architects, Johnson Design Partnership.
Designed in line with criteria set down by main sponsor, Sport England, the space has been organised in an open plan ’village’ style with 20 larger, unisex private changing rooms, including parent and child, family and disabled cubicles.
Two larger group changing rooms and a dedicated disabled/baby changing room with shower provide greater flexibility for schools and families, as well as being more accessible for disabled swimmers and centre users.
There are now six individual shower cubicles, with four pre-swim showers, and the male and female toilets have also been completely refurbished.
Vision panels through to the pool create a stunning feature, and the high-quality finish includes anti-slip floor tiles and the latest in lighting and ventilation for a more comfortable experience.
The completion of the refurbishment project signals the start of a new era at Bridgnorth Endowed Leisure Centre, and an increase in the use of the centre is expected.