Diggers, cement mixers and futuristic machinery are just some of the images created by Highwood Primary pupils for the hoardings on the new Bulmershe Leisure Centre site, in an art competition run by J Mould Reading.
J Mould Reading is currently demolishing the leisure centre in Woodlands Avenue in Woodley on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council, which is redeveloping the site to create a new £14million centre with modern and accessible facilities and preventative health services.
Demolition of the old centre has been timed to coincide with the summer holidays to ensure it is down before the start of autumn term to avoid disrupting neighbouring schools and community groups.
As pupils from Highwood Primary School had been using the old centre for many years, they were invited to take part in the competition. They were tasked with thinking about building sites, and some of the dangers that lurk on them. There were three categories; best picture, most imaginative and most futuristic.
Twenty six entries were received, with winners in each category receiving toy store vouchers of £50, £30 and £20 in each. All of the entries are now displayed on the hoardings.
“As the competition ran just before the summer holidays we thought it would be a nice way for them to end the term,” said Richard Harris, demolition manager at J Mould Reading. “Plus it must be exciting for them looking forward to having a new centre right on their doorstep.
“Our office staff enjoyed viewing all the entries. The pupils were also treated to a visit to the site to see how the demolition is going, which was a perfect end to a perfect event.”
Deputy borough mayor, Cllr Bill Soane, joined the youngsters during their visit. He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the pupils and seeing their super creativity on show. We all also enjoyed seeing how the old centre is being taken down.”
Planning permission for the new centre was granted earlier this month. It will feature a six-lane 25m swimming pool and teaching pool with a movable floor, a bigger gym, a four-court sports hall, an additional studio, a café and long term gym.
It has been designed to offer the most up-to-date, accessible for all, flexible facilities, that will not only encourage and empower the whole community to take part in and enjoy a range of sports and activities. What it will offer has been shaped by several consultations involving residents, groups and schools using the old centre.
While the new centre is being built, there are alternatives for current Bulmershe users at the St Crispin’s, Loddon Valley, Arborfield, Carnival Pool leisure centres and Ryeish Green centre, which opens later in the year. It is hoped the new centre will open during summer 2020. It will be run by the borough council’s new provider Places for People Leisure.