Work to demolish the Sands Centre in Carlisle has started.
The work will make way for improved facilities including a new swimming pool and is being carried out by Wates Construction.
More than 100 tonnes of building material has already been removed from the site and the work is due to be finished by the end of this month.
Plans are in place to either reuse, reclaim or recycle the demolition material. It is expected that around 200 tonnes of material will be removed from the site in total as part of this programme of work.
Carlisle City Council said the work was being carried out in strict accordance with COVID-19 procedures – and planned to avoid disruption to the existing Sands Centre building.
Councillor Stephen Higgs, portfolio holder for culture, heritage and leisure, said: “The Sands Centre redevelopment represents a cornerstone in our plans to support our communities to continue to improve their health and wellbeing.
“Carlisle is in urgent need of new swimming facilities. This is a one-off opportunity with a dual benefit of all the facilities being on one site.
“Work is well under way, and I’d like to thank all those involved in driving the project forward during challenging times.”
The new Sands Centre building will be set across two storeys and accessed by a bespoke, internal street.
The new build extension will add 40,000sqft to the existing building, with the redeveloped centre offering facilities including a 25m main pool and a 20m learner pool complete with an innovative moveable floor.
There will be a four-court sports hall with a spectator gallery, a 120-station fitness suite, and a spinning studio, as well as improvements to the existing events hall.
It will also boast a café and bar area and dance studios.
The project will also consolidate the existing arrangements with the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust Musculoskeletal (MSK) team.
The MSK team already provide treatment services at The Sands Centre but will be able to expand their services and develop new joint/collective treatment and rehabilitation activities with GLL and other partners.
The improved facilities will include a range of sustainable features which will support Carlisle City Council’s plans for reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency and providing sustainable, healthy transport options.
Construction on The Sands Centre redevelopment is scheduled to be completed by late autumn 2022
The existing Pools on James Street will remain in place until all construction at The Sands Centre has been completed.
The arts and entertainment programme (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) will continue to take place at The Sands Centre during the closure of the leisure facilities.
Temporary facilities will be in place for catering, toilets and reception. The entrance to the venue and the box office will be relocated.