WIGAN’S new multi-million pound Life Centre opens this weekend and the Wigan Evening Post were invited to take a sneak preview at the eagerly anticipated project.
It has taken two-and-half years to build and cost £217 million and next weekend there are free taster sessions after it officially opens on Monday.
The flagship centre on the South site is built around a state of the art Healthy Living Zone, but also includes office space and recreational areas. The centre will house some 650 staff, including PCT and council staff. Wigan Metro say it will help in their commitment to reducing the number of offices from 35 buildings to just five as part of savings they have set out in response to cuts in public funding.
A national standard 25 by 21 metre swimming pool features a 250 seater viewing gallery which will host its first gala featuring the region’s best national swimmers in October.
Even more impressive is the retractable floor which means the pool can be split between zero and two metre depths depending on what classes or sessions it is being used for. This also helps insulate the pool when it is not in use.
The gym, which has memberships starting at £19 a month, features the latest technology including machines which allow you to watch TV, log onto Facebook and listen to your ipod while you workout. It also works at Robin Park gym and WLCT hope to run out the technology across the borough in the near future.
WLCT’s Area Manager for the Life Centre, Albino Ferro, said: “Now people who want to watch Coronation Street can do it at the gym so there is no excuse not to get fit.
“We have already had hundreds of enquiries and we are very much looking forward to the opening next week. It is great to see it looking so good and hopefully the people of Wigan will love it.”
There are also saunas and steam rooms and a learner swimming pool as well as specialist facilities for those with disabilities or special needs.
Chief executive of WLCT Stuart Murray said: “This is an exciting addition to Wigan’s leisure offer. The facilities are first class and something the residents of Wigan should be justly proud of.
“This is a flagship site for us that will play a key role in encouraging more people in the borough to get active.
“It is really pleasing to see it up and running as it has been a decade since it was first muted and it has turned out even better than we had hoped.”
When the North site opens in the New Year the £217m Wigan Life Centre will include a one-stop shop for public services, an Information Zone, including a new public library and a Neighbourhood Zone marking the completion of a project that has been more than a decade in the making. Wigan Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, Coun Chris Ready said: “This vision of unifying access to public services started 10 years ago.
“When this complex is complete this one-stop shop will modernize the way we deliver public services and set the borough apart from other areas.
“It will ensure quick and easy access to services that people need and want. It will be something Wigan is proud of and something to treasure.”
Gym members will be able to access the new facilities on Monday, September 19 with a special weekend of activities planned for Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25.
Activities during the weekend of free sessions include – Thump Boxing, Body Pump, Indoor Cycling and Family Swimming.
For more information on the Wigan Life Centre visit www.wigan.gov.uk.
For information about the open weekend and the new pool and fitness centre visit www.wlct.org/activelife or call 01942 489 611.