Construction of the Sports Centre began last week; the largest project in Sedbergh since Powell Hall was built in 1904. It will become a new hub for sporting life at Sedbergh School and will also be available for community use. The photos show a huge trench being dug – there are major services including mains drainage that run through the site that have to be diverted. Work will soon start on moving the 20,000 tons of boulder clay out of Sedgwick Mound onto a field near Riverside which will eventually create additional playing surfaces.

The Centre will provide a double court for netball, tennis, basketball, badminton and a substantial fitness and conditioning suite with state-of-the-art equipment, adding to the existing indoor sports facilities at Sedbergh School, including a sports hall, swimming pool and squash courts.

Local groups currently use the Sedbergh School sports hall for 15 hours per week and the new facilities will more than double this, offering the community 45 hours use per week. Current users of Sedbergh School sports facilities include Sedbergh Badminton Club, Cumbria Cricket, Sedbergh Junior Football Club, Over 50’s Group, Age Concern, Dent Primary School and Sedbergh Primary School. New users who have shown interest include Pentathlon GB, Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Club, Sedbergh Health Centre and Cumbria Netball are looking into setting up Sedbergh Netball Club.

Headmaster Andrew Fleck said: “We are delighted with the design solution created by our partners. By providing the very best sporting facilities Sedbergh School will ensure that sport plays its part in maintaining the mental and physical health and fitness of our young people. Sport and exercise is an integral part of a Sedbergh education, both within the curriculum and as part of full boarding life. The School has record numbers – a roll of 530 pupils and expects to reach capacity of 545 pupils in September. This project represents our commitment to optimising the sporting potential of every pupil whatever their interest or standard.”

The School is working with Robothams and JMP Architects Ltd. These partners specialise in sports and independent school design projects and have been working with local Yorkshire Dales National Park planning authorities.  JMP will lead the construction stages of the project and have assisted with technical design.

Hugh Blair, Chair of the Governors, said: “We are committed to ensuring that these facilities will make a difference to everyone in the community, not only those who play sport for school or at the highest level. The design incorporates a green roof and use of other sustainable technology. Visually, it will complement our spectacular environment and practically, it will provide two additional indoor courts, which are required in order to enable training and fixtures to take place in the winter evenings and when the weather is too wet or windy to play competitive sport outside. This will be one of the very few double court facilities in the North West, reflecting the standard and quality of sport at Sedbergh School. A facility for external lectures, presentations and events will also be created and available to the community.”