£35 million Maiden Castle expansion work to begin ‘within weeks’

Gym bunnies rejoice


Durham University has confirmed that £35 million worth of expansion works to improve the facilities at Maiden Castle will begin "within weeks", continuing through to completion in September 2019.

In an announcement released yesterday, the University confirmed that the new facilities will include a "12 badminton court sports hall with spectator provision, a five-lane cricket hall, a purpose-built martial arts studio, a 90-station fitness suite with additional strength and conditioning provision and a sports laboratory".

They also confirmed the addition of a changing pavilion and two beach volleyball courts outside the main building, with social learning and club room spaces being added alongside an expanded cafe area.

Netballers jumping for joy at the prospect of no longer having to squeeze into a singular sports hall

For many student athletes, news of such expansion is exciting and long awaited.

Will Faire, DU Cricket Captain said of the addition of a 5-net indoor cricket hall, "It’s really exciting from our point of view, we’ve been quite a way behind in that department against some of our competition such as Loughborough… having these new facilities will only aid in creating a more professional atmosphere and training experience."

For teams such as DU Volleyball, who have had fantastic recent success including the Women's 1st team's BUCS win last year, the prospect of 2 beach volleyball courts and expanded indoor facilities are, according to captain Luke Collins, "a fantastic opportunity for Durham to continue to become one of the best volleyball clubs in the UK".

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One disgruntled student turning to Durfess during the last round of construction.

Many students are concerned that the building works will be as disruptive as they were pre-Christmas. When asked about potential disruption to the facilities during the expansion period, Quentin Sloper, Director of Experience Durham, confirmed that all current facilities will remain available until the new build is completed, promising minimal interruption to current users in the meantime.

He added, "with over 75% of Durham students involved in sport and physical activity Durham has the highest participation rate of any UK University. We also aspire to increase this to 80% whilst transforming staff participation. The facilities are at capacity and given projected student number growth and the transition of students from Queen's Campus it was imperative that the facilities were developed."

Whilst there is no doubt that student and community athletes alike look forward to the newly improved facilities, many are questioning the huge multi-million pound cost to the project, with one DU athlete commenting, "oh boy, those are some expensive sports halls".

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