Incoming freshers and returning students will be delighted to know that Newcastle’s new Sport Centre is nearing completion.
Situated on Richardson Road next to the “old” sports centre and the new Park View accommodation, the new centre began to take shape in Summer 2018, with £30 million backed behind the project.
After their respective refurbishments, the new and “old” sports centre will combine to create a big building jam packed with a range of facilities.
Parts of the new building are open to students and staff now. Refurbishment on the “old” sports centre is due to begin sometime this month, with plans to install a new gym, spin studio, two additional studios, and a strength and conditioning room.
Both centres are aiming to be complete next summer/autumn, with plans for a “grand opening” of the new facilities.
The refurbishments come after Team Newcastle secured another top ten BUCS finish last season, a feat which they’ll be looking to replicate this season.
The facilities in the new part of the complex include more resources for Sport and Exercise students. Features such as labs, running tracks and recreation areas are a big feature of the building. Furthermore, for the first time, squash courts have also been built.
What’s arguably the most impressive feature, is the new sports hall. Slightly bigger than the current hall, the new one has drop and lock futsal goals, basketball nets that lower for players of all ages and abilities and a viewing platform from above.
In regards to the new facilities, AU Officer for 2019/20, Joe Gubbins, said, “I think the facilities that are complete currently are really good, especially the sports hall that looks brilliant, it’s a much more professional set-up than the old place. Clubs are going to come here on away fixtures and think “wow”.
For our clubs it’s definitely a massive asset to them, and it especially will be when the refurbishment of the old sport centre is complete in April/May time. It’s a little bit disappointing that there’s been some delays. I think Clugston have their reasons for these, it’s still a bit disappointing that we couldn’t open it all at the start of term with a bang, but it should be complete within the next week or so, we’ll have the whole new building then.”
Further to the developments around the Sports Centre, Team Newcastle’s outdoor facility, Cochrane Park, has had a facelift. The grounds have been expanded to include three new artificial pitches, a rowing ergometer training centre and multipurpose space, a bigger sports pavilion and new changing rooms as well as more car parking space.
Gubbins added, “Outdoors, Cochrane Park is absolutely fantastic. The quality of the pitches is brilliant, the Clubhouse is a massive improvement. Again, this is a much more professional set-up and away teams are going to come here and think, “wow, this is a decent facility”. And also having the bar there as that social space that people can stick around and watch games on the balcony and stay around for a chat and a drink after a game is a really good addition.”
Whilst BUCS teams will benefit from all the brand-new facilities, Newcastle University’s intra-mural programme are also excited to stage their events and make use of the new features at their disposal.
Intra-mural sport continues to grow every year at Newcastle, with the programme effectively split into two parts. The first is a league format, which offers sports such as football 11s, 7s, 5s, women’s football 11s, netball and rugby union 15s. For the cost of the silver sports membership, the league format offers exciting opportunities to enter cup competitions and tournaments throughout the year on a more relaxed basis.
The second format is a “pitch-up and play” style. Unlike the league format, pitch-up and play doesn’t require silver sports membership. In a similarly relaxed format, students can get involved in mixed basketball, women’s only basketball, women’s football, men’s and women’s futsal, mixed hockey and, new for this year, mixed squash.
What’s more exciting about the intra-mural sides, is the fact that they’re constantly developing and improving as each year passes. For example, the women’s football 11s have grown from a small social group to a full 11-a-side squad involved in local leagues. Whilst they’ve taken off in their league format, the side haven’t forgotten their roots, and still offer a “pitch-up and play” style of game.
Intra-mural coordinator, Liam Isaac, commented, “The Intramural programme is a great way to play sport in a fun and friendly environment with an element of competition across a huge variety of sports, from football, netball and hockey to futsal, rugby and more. Our traditional team sports are played in a league format, whilst sports such as squash, basketball and futsal offer opportunities to pitch up and play with organised matches and tournaments on the day. With over 3500 students playing Intramural it’s also a great way for you to meet other students on your course, in your halls or from other areas of campus.”
If you fancy getting involved with intra-mural sports this season, contact Liam Isaac (email@example.com) for more details.