WORK has begun on the new gym and reception area at the Clickimin Leisure Complex in Lerwick.
Local media and representatives from organisations involved in the £1.5 million project attended a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the milestone.
The new facility will more than double the size of the existing gym, which has often been criticised as being too small.
The work should be completed by contractors DITT by October next year and the zig-zag paths leading from the main road at South Lochside to the existing glass entrance are already dug up.
Nearly £919,000 of the overall costs will come from Shetland Islands Council as it is part of the new Anderson High School project, with pupils able to have some access to the facility.
Centre operator Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) will only pay £232,000 towards the project, with the local EU LEADER programme granting £325,000.
Centre manager Robert Geddes said the new gym will have a “better shape” with a purpose-built design.
He added that the soon to be demolished existing glass entrance isn’t insulated, meaning it is too cold in the winter and often too warm on sunny summer days.
It also creates an issue with pressure meaning that wind is often blown into the swimming pool building when doors are opened.
SRT chairman Bryan Leask described it as an “exciting development in the evolution of the Clickimin Leisure Complex”.
“As folk who use it will know well, the gym has been bursting at the seams in recent years, and with the new facility being 250 square metres we are more than doubling capacity, which will be a huge improvement,” he added.
“The central reception will also help us save energy costs because it will prevent heat and humidity loss from the pool building. Having one reception instead of two will result in greater efficiency for both customers and staff.”
SRT general manager James Johnston added that partner agencies such as NHS Shetland, the SIC, Sportscotland and Disability Shetland had all said there was a lack of space.
“For example, as well as general fitness users and elite athletes, Disability Shetland has been looking for greater space around equipment to help them increase their usage,” he said.
“Given that this facility will be single storey at ground level, access will also be improved.”
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