Work on the new £35 million leisure centre in Craigavon is making “good progress”, according to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
But a warning has also gone out to the public to stay away as work continues due to potential dangers on a construction site.
The council says work on the new state-of-the-art centre is now well underway, with a series of early key milestones achieved since construction firm Farrans moved on site to prepare the area in March.
The new complex, which will open in 2020, will offer both indoor and outdoor leisure experiences.
These include a 50-metre swimming pool with a moveable floor, teaching pool, fun pool and spectator gallery as well as state-of-the-art gym equipment, spin and dance studios, an extensive health and beauty suite, activity rooms, squash courts and a large sports hall.
The council says the successful completion of early enabling works meant the development was progressing well.
The ‘old’ Watersports Centre has been closed and cleared for demolition while work on a new temporary facility has begun before opening ahead of the summer at the western shore of the lake in the grounds of Craigavon Civic Centre.
This will operate for the duration of the build.
Ground works have already started and excavation and piling is due to start in the next few weeks.
The council is urging residents, and visitors, to heed official notices, information and guidance provided around the build, saying it is important for everyone to be aware that construction sites are not public places and access has been restricted for safety reasons.
With temporary structures and the deep excavation required for a 50m swimming pool, members of the public are strictly prohibited from entering the site.
Cars and other vehicles should exercise caution in the area, and parking near to the site entrance – on the grass verges, for example – is not advisable due to the heavy duty lorries and machinery entering and exiting the site.
Lord Mayor, Alderman Gareth Wilson, said: “This is a really exciting time in the creation of this landmark leisure development, with good early progress made that will pave the way for an outstanding facility which can be enjoyed by everyone.”
The new facility is the largest project undertaken to date by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council as part of its ambitious capital investment programme and, once complete, will be a flagship building for Craigavon and the surrounding area.
Farrans, one of the UK and Ireland’s largest building contractors, is delivering the project which will provide employment opportunities for local residents and businesses.
In addition to the staff that will run the new leisure facility, the Craigavon project will create more than 500 jobs during the build, while the construction phase alone will deliver an estimated £6.5 million in direct wages to the economy.