SPORT & ENTERTAINMENT: €1.6m upgrade of Bishopstown Leisure Centre, Cork

13 July 2017
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

LW Management, the management agency responsible for LeisureWorld Bishopstown, has announced details of a €1.6 million self-financed investment to modernise the Bishopstown facility over the coming months.

Opened in 1997 LeisureWorld Bishopstown has grown and evolved over the past 20 years to be one of the leading health, fitness and leisure facilities in Cork. As the flagship LW Management site, it includes a 25m pool, 18m pool, children’s pool, sauna and steam room, a large gym, a specialised gym for those with physical impairments, four AstroTurf pitches, three fitness studios, and a busy on site café.

Four main phases of works will be carried out through the second half of this year to upgrade facilities; namely the replacement of gym equipment and reconfiguration of the gym; the replacement of the AstroTurf pitches; an upgrade of the Changing Village; and the replacement of boilers, pumps and air handling.

The upgrades, brought forward through AIB Finance, will see LW Management work closely with Quantity surveyor, Tony O’Regan Associates; Team Lead Engineer, Tony O’Connor, TEM; Coughlan DeKeyser Architects; and Vision Contracting.

The planned works at LeisureWorld Bishopstown will include a €0.5 million investment for the replacement of gym equipment and a reconfiguration of this space. LW Management has a replacement policy of five years that it aims to meet in the gym, and new equipment will be in situ by December this year.

Speaking about this upgrade, Christine Moloney, CEO of LW Management said “Customer expectations in terms of gym equipment and the type of training they want has changed significantly in recent years. Much of the training now is small group training and more functional type training using body weight and free weights and equipment, and therefore LW Management has made the decision to create more space to facilitate these needs.”

After consideration of changing the layout and replacing the surface of the AstroTurf pitches with multi use surfaces, and the possibility of putting a dome covering the pitches, it was decided it made best financial and practical sense to replace the pitches and leave the current configuration, retaining the recessed goals. Pitch fencing will also be upgraded. The replacement works should take a maximum of four weeks, with one to two pitches remaining playable at all times. This phase of the upgrade will be under-taken during the quieter months of July and August.

The original design of the Changing Village was designed to service the original single 25m pool and a very small gym area, but as LeisureWorld Bishopstown now facilitates high volumes of children for swim lessons, an extended gym and aerobics area, and a busy health suite, the investment affords the opportunity to redesign and upgrade the changing areas to reflect the demand and use of each space, with a high emphasis on accessibility for users with limited mobility or disability.

Coughlan DeKeyser Architects were appointed and building designs have now been agreed. There is a tight time frame for completion of this stage of the upgrade but it is hoped that works will commence by July and will continue until October. It is planned to do the entire changing areas in a phased way, with additional temporary changing facilities made available externally to the existing building during the works.

Christine Moloney explained this upgrade: “The Changing Village has been maintained very well with small upgrades made over the years. However modern expectations of facilities from customers, and also building regulations have moved on, and so LW Management will take this opportunity to upgrade the changing areas this year. It means that for three months our team will have to manage customers and work around the building works, but it is the only way for such a large upgrade to be completed while still operating and keeping the building open.”

The boiler will be replaced in the first phase of upgrades; as will the main circulation pumps which will have “double heads” which will reduce the risk of having to close the facility should any circulation pumps fail. The air handling units which circulate the air throughout the building and pool halls will also be replaced. This phase of the project will take place from June until late August, and will be mainly located and focused around the plant rooms external to the building so there will be minimal disruption.

Speaking about the initial phase of work at LeisureWorld Bishopstown, Ms Moloney said “While customers won’t see much change with these particular upgrades, it should greatly improve the efficiency of the facility, reduce gas and electric consumption, and reduce the number of maintenance issues, so operationally it will be the most important upgrade the facility will undergo in the next 15 years.”

LW Management was set up by Cork City Council in 1997 to manage their leisure facilities and provide a quality service and experience to anyone that wishes to avail of these facilities and services. What started as a one site facility in Bishopstown, focused on recreation and leisure, has grown into a progressive management company that now manages a number of facilities across Cork City including LeisureWorld Bishopstown, LeisureWorld Churchfield, St. Peter’s Cork on North Main Street, Mahon Golf Course, The Gus Healy Pool in Douglas, and the Sam Allen Sports Complex.

For more information on LW Management and the facilities it manages visit www.LWManagement.ie.

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