The work includes a newly resurfaced running track and enhancements to the long jump area, as well as works to improve accessibility and lighting. The investment total will be £452,000.
Portfolio holder for Tourism, Culture and Leisure, BCP Council, Councillor Mohan Iyengar, said, “Kings Park Athletics Centre is a superb venue, hosting everyone from school children right up to elite competitors. It’s a community hub and a symbol of our commitment to active and healthy lifestyles for our residents.
“Recently we announced a strategy which looks at the quality and accessibility of playing pitches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole over the next 10 years. Now this announcement for Kings Park is a further sign of our intention to invest in and improve outdoor sports facilities.”
The park, which has been in operation for over 60 years, hosts almost 12,000 school children a year in various events and is the home of Bournemouth Athletic Club. It is the venue for athletics league matches and open meets, school championships, more than 20 school sports days, parkrun, running clubs and weekly training sessions for people with learning disabilities.
This investment is needed in order to be granted a renewed accreditation certificate for the coming year. The council worked with Sports Lab Consultancy on the design and Cleveland Land Services have been appointed to carry out the work.
The work will mainly take place during lockdown, and while the centre is closed. It is expected to take three months and will specifically include a re-surfacing of the whole running track, improvements to the ground under the track, new pathways providing better accessibility for all users, and enhancements to the long jump area. The old floodlights are being replaced with modern LED lighting that use up less energy, meaning the improvements will contribute to the council’s commitment to make its operations carbon neutral by 2030.
Vice chair of Bournemouth Athletic Club, Tim Hughes, said, “Kings Park Athletics Centre is an important base for Bournemouth Athletic Club. These improvements will not only benefit our members, both young and old, but will enhance their performance on the track and enable them to re-build their fitness levels following a non-competing year in 2020 due to coronavirus. It will once again enable us to prepare for competing across the country and, for some of our athletes, at international level.”
The centre is expected to reopen in late spring, Covid-19 restrictions permitting.
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