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Sports centre facelift a boon for whole community

$2 million refurbishment due to start this month at the UOW Recreation and Aquatic Centre.

UOW students, staff and Illawarra community will be the beneficiaries of a $2 million refurbishment due to start this month at the UOW Recreation and Aquatic Centre (URAC).

The $2 million project (see accompanying artist’s impression) will include renovations to the centre lobby and reception area, an upgrade to the main change room facilities and the installation of a UOW Sporting Hall of Fame.

Executive Director of URAC, Mr Paul Manning, said the Sporting Hall of Fame would celebrate sporting achievement and participation across the history of the University. In this regard, URAC is currently seeking the help of staff, students and the broader community in tracking down past sporting stars, photos and memorabilia. Those able to assist should email Mr Manning

The facelift will involve the relocation of the Health Club entry stairs, air conditioning in the lobby, new-look café and reception desk and an update of the décor and furnishings throughout the centre. The entry stairs to the gym will be moved next to the reception desk meaning gym users will no longer walk through the café to access the gym. The change rooms will also be upgraded and there will be remodelling of office space providing additional specific storage spaces.

URAC renovation

The works are due for completion in February 2016 in time for the start of the 2016 academic year. The majority of the disruptive public foyer work will begin after the university examination period in late this year.

Mr Manning stressed that due to the extensive nature of the project there may be times when visitors to URAC will be adversely affected by noise, smell or changes in access to URAC facilities.

“We will work closely with the construction team to keep disruptions to a minimum and to ensure the safety of our members and guests,” Mr Manning said.

The project is being funded by UOW with the Sporting Hall of Fame as a key component of the development. The Curators’ Department in Sydney has been contracted to develop and design this part of the facelift.

“It will be a space that inspires and reflects the Recreation and Aquatic Centre’s history, community and strengths and tells the story of the University’s contribution to sporting excellence in Australia,” Mr Manning said.

The Curators’ Department aims to create a design that is able to speak to multiple audiences from sports clubs, to university staff and students, researchers, professional sportspeople and members of the Illawarra community. The curated displays will highlight archival objects, text, moving image and photographic elements.

“The upgrade will cement the University’s sporting history as one of the top health and fitness facilities in the region,” Mr Manning said.