The joint project between Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn College will provide for students and residents swimming pools but also a larger fitness suite, a dance/ aerobics studio, sauna and steam room and two sports halls. The scheme, partly-based on Darwen Leisure Centre, will reduce the running costs of the existing Waves complex and reduce the subsidy.
Eric Wright Construction (EWC) started building in November 2013 on the gravel area next to Feilden Street multi-storey car park and the sports halls will be ready for September 2014, with the new swimming pools opening in Spring 2015. Then the 26-year-old Waves will be demolished and the site sold for development by the council.
Blackburn with Darwen borough's executive board approved its £8.5million share of the cost in April 2013, with the college providing in excess of £5million.
A survey of Waves said it was 'not sustainable' with annual running costs at £500,000 twice those for Darwen Leisure Centre, opened in 2010.
The design includes: 6 lane, 25-metre pool, A learner small pool, screen able for single gender use with a moveable floor, Two aqua-catchers, Children's water play zone, An 80 station fitness suite, A dance/aerobics studio with a sprung floor, Sauna and steam rooms, Two four-court sports halls for college use with public use from 6 pm and during weekends and holidays and A sports science lab for college use. The development would be another key part of regenerating the town centre.