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New gym part of £1m Clickimin revamp

The glazed area of the Clickimin would be demolished and replaced with a new gym, entrance and reception area. Photo: Shetland News/Neil Riddell

CLICKIMIN Leisure Complex could be set for an overhaul costing in the region of £1 million – incorporating the creation of a new, expanded fitness gym and a revamped reception and entrance.

The move is partly designed to accommodate the additional demands when pupils from the new Anderson High School begin using the leisure centre for PE classes.

Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) has just opened a well-received £1.9 million indoor football pitch, which forms part of the new AHS project, and it has now lodged plans to build a 250 square metre gym with Shetland Islands Council planners.

If the plans are approved it would result in the demolition of the existing glass walkway between the swimming pool and dry side to make way for the gym, along with a new entrance and single reception area.

SRT general manager James Johnston said various factors including the school’s impending completion had prompted the trust to commission PJP Architects to draw up the new design.

The centre “always gets lots of complaints” about draughts blowing through from the glazed partition into the part of the swimming pool used by toddlers. This development would eliminate such draughts and make both sides of the building more environmentally efficient.

SRT general manager James Johnston.

Creating a single reception area serving as the “operational hub of the whole complex”, replacing the existing two reception desks, would enable the trust to make staffing efficiencies.

In addition the existing Apex fitness gym – first opened 15 years ago and currently situated upstairs from the main sports hall – has struggled to cope with demand at peak times in recent years.

The existing glazed canopy between the centre’s car park and the entrance would be removed and replaced with a covered walkway and a “pavilion-style” roof would be installed over the new entrance, reception and gym – avoiding the need for alterations to existing roofs.

It would also create a single entrance to the complex from the car park side of the building – closing off the revolving door entrance from Lochside and eliminating use of what PJP describes as a “tortuous series of ramps and steps”. They would be removed and the area would be landscaped.

Existing railings along the Lochside footpath would be extended and, while removing access from that side of the building may result in some users facing a slightly longer walk, PJP believes the proposals “offer a better solution for the vast majority”.

The architects’ design statement says the car park side is “now well established as the main access route” and is expected to become “even more heavily used” once the AHS is completed and opened.

Johnston said he also felt a single entrance would make it easier to police big crowds arriving for events such as concerts.

He said the plans were “very much at the development stage”. If planning permission is secured, building warrants will also need to be attained before attention turns to putting a funding package together.

The SRT is working with prospective funders from LEADER, a European Union initiative that forms part of the Scottish Government’s rural development programme between 2014 and 2020.

While the proposals will only be fully costed after work has gone out to tender, Johnston said the trust was looking at a “ballpark £1 million” sum to be found from a combination of external money and its own resources.