A sports centre in Medway is now home to some of the best facilities in the South east following a major transformation.
King’s Rochester Sports Centre, formerly the Stirling Centre, officially opened its doors on Friday 27th June after completion of a £500,000 refurbishment project and Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equalities, Helen Grant was there to cut the ribbon.
In a ground-breaking arrangement, King’s Rochester took over the Centre from Medway Council in October 2012 and over the intervening months, has invested significantly to provide a first-rate facility for its own pupils but also for the local community.
The Centre has undergone a major makeover, both inside and out, including the refurbishment and reflooring of the multi-purpose sports hall, and the fitness gym has been transformed with the installation of cardio-vascular equipment.
Bar, dining area, function rooms and conference spaces have also benefitted from a major face-lift and are now ready for business hire as well as for party-bookings.
Outside, seven tennis courts were completed in time for the Wimbledon season, conforming to stringent Lawn Tennis Association standards. Five netball courts have also been resurfaced.
In his address, King’s Principal, Jeremy Walker paid tribute to the vision of his predecessor, Dr Ian Walker who began the project just before he retired in 2012 and whose wish it was to transform the former Stirling Centre into a vibrant, modern, outstanding sports facility for the local community as well as for King’s. He also thanked Medway Council for their support and partnership in making this vision become a reality.
The many guests, including Viscount and Lady De Lisle, The Mayor of Medway -Cllr Barry Kemp, Cllr Rodney Chambers, Cllr Alan Jarrett then toured the centre in the company of Helen Grant and Jeremy Walker to watch pupils and local residents enjoying the new facilities.
Mrs Grant said: “I was delighted to officially open the refurbished King’s Rochester Sports Centre, tour these fantastic sports facilities and meet such talented young people using them. The partnership between King’s Rochester and Medway Council is a great example of what can be achieved in providing first class facilities to benefit both pupils and the local community in Kent.’
Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe also expressed his delight at the culmination of such an exciting project and said: “We have worked very closely with King’s Rochester on this project which has given centre a new lease of life. It is going to open up exciting new sporting opportunities to the community and King’s students.’
John Hellyer (68), a local resident who suffered a series of heart attacks 10 years ago and was referred to the cardiac rehabilitation clinic at the then Stirling Centre. now comes to the newly-fitted gym twice a week and still attends the cardio class once a week. “The Council’s decision to go into partnership with King’s was brilliant,” he says. “Staff are experienced, well-qualified and everyone is so helpful and friendly.”