The new sports centre is open to staff, students and the local community. Image courtesy of Harry Lawlor.

Olympic champion Sally Gunnell opens £4 million sports centre in Penryn

Olympic gold medal winner Sally Gunnell OBE has officially opened a £4 million new sports facility at the Penryn Campus

The track and field athlete, winner of the 400 metre Olympic gold medal in 1992, opened the centre, which will improve sporting facilities for staff, students and the community. As well as modern exercise spaces and equipment, the new centre includes the campus’s first children’s day nursery.

The facility, which will be available for use by local groups, has been developed in partnership with the University of Exeter, Falmouth University, the FXU (Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union) and Falmouth Exeter Plus (the campus’s shared services delivery partner). It has been built to high specifications by Midas Construction Ltd.

Sally Gunnell, who works with the University of Exeter to support staff wellbeing, said: “I’m delighted to open this new facility, which will mean a real boost for fitness and wellbeing for staff, students and the local community. I’m passionate about inspiring people to get active, and having high-quality sports facilities on the doorstep is a fantastic incentive to exercise.”

The new centre includes a four-court sports hall, available to hire for a variety of sports and events, while the Flexsi fitness suite offers a brand new programme of classes in the large, versatile studio and a spacious, 90-station gym equipped by leading UK experts Pulse Fitness.

The new building also includes a children’s day nursery – Little Wonders Nursery, Penryn – for children aged 0 to 5. The nursery will benefit families among staff, students and the community by offering excellent childcare by high quality and experienced staff. The nursery includes plenty of safe and secure outdoor space to encourage play and learning on a picturesque campus.

Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, said: “This sports facility is a real asset, both to the Penryn Campus and the surrounding area. I’m really pleased that we’re now able to provide high-quality sports facilities and childcare in the heart of the campus, and I'm sure it will bring huge benefits to our local and student communities.”

Peter Cox, Chief Operating Officer of Falmouth University, said: “This is a great addition to the facilities on the Penryn Campus. We are particularly delighted with the new sports hall, which is already booked and busy every day. We look forward to seeing it develop in to an important facility for students, staff and the local community. It's a great example of the partnership in Cornwall working to benefit all.”

Andy McAdam, Divisional Director for Midas Construction Devon and Cornwall, said: “We are delighted to have once again worked with the University of Exeter on a successfully delivered project to enhance its Cornwall campus, following the completion of the £5.5m Science and Engineering Research Support Facility which we delivered on the Penryn site last year. This fantastic new sports centre will be of huge benefit to both the student population and the local community, with nearby residents and local community groups able to use the centre, which is positive news for sport and for Cornwall.”

Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, of FXU President Student Experience, said: “The new sports centre is such a brilliant addition to our campus. More students are now able to join in than ever before, and the variety of fitness classes has increased hugely. FXU are always keen to help as many people as possible get active and involved, and our clubs have already seen the benefits of having this facility on campus.”

The launch event was attended by community and sports representatives as well as staff and students.

There is an energetic and diverse community at Penryn Campus, which is shared and jointly managed by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University. This creates a vibrant community of students from science, engineering, humanities and arts backgrounds.

Date: 8 November 2016

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