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Rebecca Douglas reviews The Edge, the new fitness facility at the University of Leeds

play every day. Many thousands more tourists and visitors come to shop, eat out or enjoy the range of attractions Leeds has on offer, and thousands more come to study at the University of Leeds. Established in 1904, the University of Leeds has


grown to become an internationally respected higher education institution steeped in tradition and history. It welcomes more than 32,000 students from over 130 different countries, leading to a rich cultural diversity and interesting environment in which to live and study. Centred on a campus just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant and cosmopolitan city, the university offers a range of opportunities to broaden the experience of students, staff and alumni alike.

MEETING EXPECTATIONS Sport has always been high on the agenda for students, with the previous facility housing two sports halls, a dance studio, a table tennis room and a small strength and conditioning room. However the facilities, though adequate, didn’t measure up against the competition in the broader marketplace. Says Stewart Ross, director of sport at the

University of Leeds: “The need for a swimming pool is something that came up time and time again in our student surveys, going as far back as the early 1980s. Four years ago, this aspiration became a reality when the university approved plans to deliver a brand new swimming pool and fi tness complex. “The old centre didn’t refl ect the direction the

university was heading in. We were able to secure £12.2m to transform our offer and create a world-class training centre for those who had Olympic dreams, as well as those who just wanted to get in shape.” The resulting facility, named The Edge, was offi cially opened on 4 May 2010 to a fanfare and a fl urry of


eeds is a lively city, rich in culture and heritage. More than 750,000 people live within the city boundaries and over 100,000 people venture into the centre to work and

students, staff, alumni and members of the public all vying to sign up; interest in the new centre had been built up via social media, competitions and open days. As part of a pre-sale push, students were also offered a three-month membership for £45, while direct debit customers could save £30 for signing up early.

PROJECT EDGE Sign-off on the design stage took approximately 12 months, with another 14 months for the build. Sue Pimblett, sales and marketing manager for sport and physical activity at the University of Leeds, takes up the story: “That 14 months was counting from the day the contractors arrived on-site to the day they left – quite an achievement when you consider the size of the build. “As the building came together piece by piece,

there was much speculation and interest around it – especially surrounding the name. In a bid to build momentum and engage our audience more fully, we launched a competition across the campus to come up with a name. After hundreds of suggestions, the senior team chose The Edge, which was my favourite too.” The Edge is now one of the largest sports centres

at any UK university. Featuring a 25m, eight-lane pool and a 200-station gym, it’s the centrepiece of the university’s fantastic new look, which also includes the £27.1m Storm Jameson Court, the new campus accommodation for conference delegates. A light, airy atrium is a key element of the design at

The Edge. From this atrium, users can view all areas of activity, including dance classes, squash, climbing and the pool. It also offers a Starbucks concession for anyone wanting to relax with a cuppa after their workout.

BIGGER, BETTER, EDGIER The new 900sq m (9,670sq ft) fi tness suite incorporates 200 stations of Technogym equipment, including CV and resistance machines, a warm-up/stretch area including Technogym’s stretching equipment range FLEXability, a dedicated induction zone, and specialist pieces of functional equipment such as Radiant and Kinesis One, both from Technogym, and Power Plate. The gym has been designed to offer something for everyone, at all levels, from those who are interested

Read Health Club Management online at august 2010 © cybertrek 2010


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