First look at construction of £53m University of Portsmouth environmentally friendly sports centre in Ravelin Park

ONE of the greenest sports centres in the UK is taking shape in Portsmouth – with the community and student facilities on track to open for 2021 despite the national lockdown.

By Richard Lemmer
Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 4:08 pm
Updated Friday, 19th June 2020, 9:48 am

The University of Portsmouth’s Ravelin Sports Centre, in Museum Road, will feature a gym, a ski simulator, and an eight-lane swimming pool open to the public as well as students when it is completed next summer.

Work began on the site in June 2019 and has reached an important milestone with the testing of the swimming pool and the completion of much of the building’s foundations.

The swimming pool has been found to be leak-free after being filled with water for 21 days, testing the ‘self-healing’ concrete that expands to fill any tiny cracks that occur during its use.

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The foundation for the eight-lane swimming pool, which has already been tested for leaks. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The 11,000sq ft site – which will feature an urban orchard and a grass amphitheatre surrounded by biodiverse wildflowers – has won a national award for its green design, according to Fiona Bell, director of estates and campus services.

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She said: ‘A green sports centre with a swimming pool in it is quite a challenge.

‘The urban orchard will take some of the water run-off from the building and some of the water from the swimming pool will be used to flush toilets.

CGI rendered image of the finished swimming pool in the Ravelin Sports Centre . Picture: FaulknerBrowns

‘There are very few projects that reach our level of sustainability.’

In March, the project won a BREEAM Award, given annually to the most innovative sustainable projects across the UK.

As well as sustainability, a major aim of the project has been its accessibility for the community, according to Fiona.

The sports hall on the top floor of the leisure centre will host student sports matches. Picture: Habibur Rahman

She said: ‘It’s really important that the community feels welcomed in.

‘When we are designing anything, we’re thinking about how the local community can interact with us.’

Alongside the swimming pool, residents will be able to use the 175 workout stations in the centre’s gym.

And those with a head for heights can climb from the basement of the building to the ceiling of the top floor using the climbing wall in its centre.

A public footpath will run alongside the 11,000sq ft site. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The project is the first part of a £400m investment in new campus facilities to built for the University of Portsmouth over the next decade.

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A CGI rendered image of the new Ravelin Sports Centre. Picture: FaulknerBrowns