Sports Complex Gets The Green Light

Funding has finally been secured for a University Sports Complex, with organisers hoping to have some facilities up and running by 2013.

CUSU funding Hawks hawks' club ian ralby sports centre sports complex west cambridge

The University has approved funding for the West Cambridge Sports Centre, and it is expected to be open in time for the academic year 2013/2014.

In November The Tab announced that the Hawks’ Club had taken charge of the project, which has been in the pipeline since 1995, pledging to raise funding from alumni to construct the £55 million sports complex on the West Cambridge site.

The location of the new sports centre

Funding has now been secured from both the University and alumni and building is expected to begin before the end of the year. Phase 1, the main Indoor sports complex, will hopefully be up and running by 2013. It will include a fitness suite, and a range of sports facilities. Two more phases will deliver a swimming pool and tennis hall at later dates, as well as build Eton Five and Squash courts in the main facilities when money becomes available.

Uni funding was secured in March, with top brass approving £10 million to underwrite phase 1 of the development. However, Hawks’ President Ian Ralby kept plans under wraps until further funding had been secured from Alumni.

CUSU also threw their weight behind the plan, securing over 600 signatures for a petition to build the complex.

CUSU President Rahul Mansigani told The Tab: “This is a huge step forward for sports at Cambridge- the University must accept that part of its mission is providing a broad student experience, and student sports facilities at Cambridge are in desperate need of improvement.

“Access to sporting facilities should not depend on your college, or your passion for rowing or rugby- Cambridge needs to match its world-class education with world-class facilities across the board.”

An architects drawing of the Phase 1 development

Deborah Lowther, Chair of the Sports Syndicate at the University said: “This is an ambitious project and the financial commitment could not be undertaken lightly, so it has taken some time for the University to satisfy itself that the centre would meet the needs of the University community and provide value for money.

“As Chair of the Sports Syndicate, I am absolutely delighted to see the plans now coming to fruition.”

The news will come as a relief for Cambridge’s sports men and women, many of whom have struggled to find adequate facilities to train in.

Blues Basketball captain Felix Schaff told The Tab that it was: “obviously great news- especially for those clubs that so far have been at the mercy of local providers such as Kelsey Kerridge.”

He said it would help ease the problem of high subsidie fees charged by certain sports. The Basketball club currently have to charge £145 to members annually simply to pay for facilities.

However, for some the new plans don’t go far enough. Women’s Modern Pentathlon Captain Laura Plant told The Tab: “I’m excited but I’m upset that there are no outdoor facilities.”

But the developments are certainly a step in the right direction, and signal a significant commitment by the University to finally get behind Uni wide sports.