The brand new Skyliner sports centre was officially opened on Saturday 4th February, by the Mayor of St Edmundsbury, Councillor Julia Wakelam and other guests.
Located on the site of the Sybil Andrews Academy, on Rougham Tower Avenue in Bury St Edmunds, the centre is a partnership project with a 45-station, state-of-the-art gym, two fitness studios, a four-badminton court sports hall and an outdoor 3G all weather pitch. From the start of the project the aim has always been to have a school which has wider links with the community through shared use of leisure facilities.
The sports centre will be managed by Abbeycroft Leisure, who also manage twelve other leisure facilities in Suffolk and Cambridge, and will be open to the public every day, with some shared daytime use of the sports hall by the Academy.
There will be an extensive group exercise class programme every day including the popular Les Mills classes and various children’s activities during term time plus a ‘Schools Out’ programme.
Designed by Concertus and built by Barnes Construction, the project to develop the Academy, and the adjoining sports facility has been a joint venture between St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Abbeycroft Leisure and Samuel Ward Trust.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has contributed around £1.5 million towards the shared leisure facilities, which includes £360,000 negotiated by the council with a housing developer specifically for sports facilities.
Cllr Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “Once a new school became a reality, St Edmundsbury worked with all the partners involved to ensure it provided some great sports and leisure facilities for community use as well as its pupils. The Sybil Andrews Academy has tremendous educational amenities and this new Skyliner sports centre will help it to develop further its role at the centre of the wider community.
“The transfer of land and funding from the borough council for the sports centre and 3G football pitch helps to make best use of public money by extending their use instead of being limited to school times. We have a long and successful partnership with Abbeycroft and I am delighted that they will be bringing their skills to making Skyliner work well for all of its users.”
Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “It’s been great to watch the development of a new first class sports facility here to support the new growing community at Moreton Hall alongside the recently opened Sybil Andrews Academy building. Pupils will really benefit from access to the full range of sports equipment and facilities as well as local people who can sign up for membership.”
James Mason, Vice Principal and Head of PE at Sybil Andrews Academy, said: “It’s going to be amazing that all pupils have access to state-of-the-art PE facilities to help aid the delivery of high quality PE.
“We have been really looking forward to the opening of the new sports centre, not just for our school but for the local community too. It’s going to be wonderful to be able to host primary school events along with sports fixtures throughout the year.”
Jack Patterson, Year 7 sports leader at the school, said: “I cannot wait to get into the new sports facilities. It’s going to be great to have so much space dedicated to PE.”
Various membership options are available to be able to use the new facility for individuals or families by visiting www.acleisure.com or call the centre on Telephone 01284 776300. You can also call into the centre for a tour during normal opening hours.