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07 July 2008

Under starter’s orders

It is all systems go for the new Surrey Centre for Sport. Work officially begins in July on the University site at Manor Park on the £35 million project which is without question the most exciting sporting development in the area for decades. It will mean that the University, Guildford and Surrey will become synonymous with sporting development and excellence.

The Surrey Centre for Sport has been developed not just for the University, students or indeed elite athletes. It is being built as a facility for everyone. It is a community project which will provide people in the area with unique access to some of the most modern and up-to-date sports facilities in the country. These include a 50 metre swimming pool, 3 giant sports halls, 8 floodlit tennis courts, 8 football/rugby pitches, 2 floodlit artificial pitches, a 100 station health and fitness suite and a 350 seat café and social area. It will also have some of the very best and most up-to-date facilities in the country for disabled athletes and the proximity of the site to the two major London airports and the capital itself is another highly significant benefit.

Although the funding for the project has been secured, additional money from commercial partnerships will also be very important. The University will be looking to secure a number of commercial partners and public funding in order to maximise the potential of the Surrey Centre for Sport and to ensure it maintains its status and standards moving forward.

As work on the site began, University of Surrey, Vice Chancellor, Professor Christopher Snowden said, "This is a wonderful day for the University and for everyone who has been involved with the project. We are extremely proud to have finally arrived at the point when the builders are moving in and work begins on creating this magnificent new facility. The Surrey Centre for Sport will provide world class sports facilities and will be of enormous benefit to sport in Surrey and the rest of the UK at what will be a highly significant time for sport in this country in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in four years time."

Professor Snowden was keen to stress the importance of the input and support of different parties involved in the creation of the Surrey Centre for Sport. "This is an extremely ambitious project but I have been absolutely delighted by the enthusiasm and support there has been from everyone involved – the staff and students at the University, the City and County Councils, local MPs and the media. This support is vital for such an ambitious project and will be crucial in ensuring that the Surrey Centre for Sport opens on schedule in January 2010."

Media enquiries: Peter La, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: 01483 689191 or E-mail: p.la@surrey.ac.uk