Major step forward for regional sports centre plans

Kathryn Evans – ‘inspirational and welcoming’ requirement for new Sports Centre

A REGIONAL SPORTS centre took another major step to becoming reality with the announcement that Morrison Construction has been named as preferred bidder to build it.

The company beat off strong competition for the first phase of the multi-million pound project to be built on land alongside the Linkwood Distillery on Elgin’s southern outskirts.

Phase one proposals include a state of the art gym, dedicated strength and conditioning, eight badminton court multi-sports hall with bleacher seating for events, exercise studios, café with children’s soft play, treatment rooms and a specialist GP referral room for personalised health and fitness exercise programmes.

Both 3G and grass pitches along with a 1km running trail are planned to follow soon after. Proposed future phases could include indoor tennis, athletics facilities and a dedicated gymnastic and martial arts hall.

Moray Sports centre chief executive, Kathryn Evans, said “We are already working closely with Morrison on pinning down the detailed design of this superb facility.

“Moray Sports centre and Morrison are aiming high – this building will be inspirational and welcoming – the design will stand the test of time. It will be highly energy efficient and cost effective to run, and the purposely modular design will allow future phases to be built efficiently.

“What will be built when depends on how much funding we can raise.  It is entirely possible that we will be building phase one, two and three at about the same time. As an independent charitable enterprise, with no local authority funding, we must raise the capital for building from national funding, major donors and general fundraising.”

Pointing out that if it is to succeed the new centre will need to be kept busy – and complement existing facilities in the region, Kathryn added: “We are establishing partnerships which will enable us to expand sports development and introduce new long term health innovations.

“Enabling higher level competition and physical fitness of older generations are just two examples – our vision for the Centre is to make Moray a leader in wide ranging sports and health initiatives.

“We would like to thank local sports clubs and the general public for their input into the design and for their ongoing support. We expect to have finalised designs on show by May 19 and to be on site in 2017.”

Morrison Construction’s Michael Duncan, said: “The Morrison team are delighted to have been appointed to deliver Moray Sports Centre. We are looking forward to working closely with Kathryn and her team to develop the facility.”

Moray Sports Centre will employ up to 50 workers on site during the construction phase and support the jobs of around 50 more people, while it is expected to provide work for over 150 people when open.

Its staffing requirements will bring new skills to Moray and these are already being planned for with apprenticeships for groundsmen and training for coaches.