The Sports Centre has announced plans for the development and refurbishment of campus sporting facilities. A potential figure exceeding £1,000,000 is to be invested in crucial upgrades to the Sports Centre and its amenities.
First on the agenda is an extension to the Fitness Suite that would effectively double its size, creating a “more spacious and workable environment”. Along with the new 1st floor area, there will also be provision, by popular demand, for more free-standing weights.
Work on the project is currently underway and although the gym will be closed for two to three weeks over the Easter vacation, the fully functioning upgrade is due to open in the second week of April, ready for the University’s summer term.
In July and August major work will also commence to re-surface the JLD all-weather pitch and lay new playing surfaces for the outdoor tennis and netball courts. Sports and Recreation Manager John Moran told Nouse that the twelve year-old JLD Astroturf has “reached the end of its useful life-span” and stated the need for a “complete reconstruction” of both areas. The new hard court surfaces should alleviate the safety concerns that have forced cancellations to some outdoor activities this winter. Moran has also proposed a complete refurbishment of the support facilities in the Sports Centre and awaits funding comfirmation. This initiative would revamp the existing changing rooms, toilets, offices, reception area and heating in the centre.
The manager also sympathised with some of the recent student criticism of sporting provisions at York, suggesting that some of the older facilities “now need refurbishing to meet modern day standards”. In this respect, he was keen to stress the importance of the current development plan as “a significant step forwards for sport at the university”. “Hopefully, this is just the beginning”, he said with regard to the current projects. “I have been working closely with the Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellors in order to secure support for these initiatives and talks are certainly of an on-going nature”. Newly elected AU President Alex Lacy did not prioritise the improvement of facilities in his election manifesto, although he has proposed short term developments that “will help students here now”. His level of commitment to the longer term process remains to be seen; a crucial factor, given that continued funding and progress may well depend upon the success of his sustained lobbying of the University.