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School sports village on way

These exclusive pictures reveal the stunning new sports facilities nearing completion at Herne Bay High School. Said to be the best of any school in the county, they will form part of a sports village complex which will also be available for community use.

The £51 million project, which includes a new gym at the Heron Leisure Centre, has a huge main “arena” hall for roller hockey, indoor football, basketball and bowls, with 412 spectator seats. Contractors are putting the finishing touches to the work and the facilities are expected to be formally opened after the summer holidays.

The scheme has been jointly funded by the city council and Buildings Schools for the Future and will relocate roller hockey and other sporting activities from the old Pier Pavilion so it can be demolished. City council finance portfolio holder Cllr Peter Lee said:

“It proves we made the right decision to go into partnership with the school because we could not have done it alone. Refurbishing the pavilion would have cost the same but the facilities and public access would not have been anywhere near as good. What we have now is superb sporting facilities which must be the best of any school in the county. It’s a very good deal for everyone.”

The sports village also includes a new four-court hall and gymnastic hall, and all the facilities will be available to the public when not in school use. They will complement the existing outside facilities which includes a full-size synthetic football pitch, three floodlit tennis/ netball courts, a multi-use games area, climbing walls (both indoor and outdoor), two full-size football pitches, a summer grass athletics track, a junior football pitch, a 24-station fitness gym and coaching education areas.

The health and fitness facilities at the pier are also being moved to the upgraded Herons Leisure Centre, which it is said will rival the quality of private-sector health clubs. As soon as the new facilities are ready for use, work can start on demolishing the Pier Pavilion, which is expected to start in September.

HB Gazette 23rd Jun 2011 by Gerry Warren

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