Blackburn College Leisure Centre

Fantastic, new state-of-the-art fitness and education centre
Blackburn College/Blackburn with Darwen Council
5,300 sqm
January 2015
DLA Architects
Clients Specification


Eric Wright Construction has completed a 62-week, project to build a state of the art new sports and swimming complex in Blackburn town centre to replace the Waves Water Fun Centre.

The joint project between Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn College provides students and residents swimming pools but also a larger fitness suite, a dance/ aerobics studio, sauna and steam room and two sports halls.

The design included:

  • Six lane, 25-metre pool
  • A learner small pool, screenable for single gender use with a moveable floor
  • Two aqua-catchers
  • Children’s water play zone
  • An 80 station fitness suite
  • A sports science lab for college useA dance/aerobics studio with a sprung floor
  • Sauna and steam rooms
  • Two four-court sports halls for college use with public use from 6pm and during weekends and holidays


Considerate Constructors 2015 Bronze Award


To watch a youtube video of Rebecca Adlington opening the new centre please follow this link: Blackburn College | Blackburn Sports & Leisure Centre Opening with Rebecca Adlington

00_hard-hat_one  136.5 Work opportunity weeks created        waste-recycled  100% Waste recycled       local-workforce  80% Local workforce         ccs-score  42/50 Considerate Constructors score

Key Challenges

There were a number of key challenges on this project which included working around a live college environment and coordinating our works to ensure minimum disruption to the existing facilities.

The boundary to the site was extremely tight and next to a live BT fibre owned by the Council. The scheme was phased with the sports hall handed over first to allow curriculum activities and exams.

The ground conditions were challenging and we had to coordinate our works to avoiding existing piles.

There was also an existing live substation on the site which we accommodated whilst it was being decommissioned. The project was a joint venture between Blackburn College and Blackburn with Darwen Council with a number of end users and it was important we met the needs of all parties involved.

Added Value

We offered a number of value engineering alternatives on this scheme for example changing the specification of the plasterboard in the pool area to a more robust product which would be more durable in the aggressive nature of a swimming pool environment.

Through our previous experience on swimming pools we were able to recommend an alternative waterproof concrete which similarly is more resilient to this harsh setting.

We also changed the specification of the polycarbonate roof lights, which not only was a cost saving to the project, but a saving on the life cycle of the building.


During the project we contributed to the Blackburn College “Student of the Year” award.

Client Feedback

“The facilities are second to none and we know it is going to be a huge attraction for residents in the borough and beyond.”
Councillor Damian Talbot
Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Young People

Related Case Studies

Get in Touch

For all enquiries, please get in touch with the team here at Eric Wright.