The new Olympia was officially opened in Belfast today – the state-of-the-art building offering the most modern and advanced leisure amenities as well as the first luxury Day Spa within such a public facility in the city.
Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, joined Gareth Kirk, Regional Director of GLL – the leisure centre operator – to mark the milestone, also unveiling a ceremonial plaque inside the building on the Boucher Road.
The new Olympia is the first of Belfast City Council’s redeveloped leisure facilities under its £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme which will also see the transformation of Andersonstown, Brook and the Robinson Centre sites.
The £19 million investment by Belfast City Council now sees the new Olympia almost doubled in size with a 25m pool and learner pool; 120 station fitness suite; 4-court sports hall and a luxury Day Spa providing six relaxing thermal experiences and treatment rooms. The Department for Communities, as part of the NI Executive’s Stadium Redevelopment Programme, has also contributed a further £2.75 million to the project.
The Lord Mayor said: “I’m delighted to officially open the new Olympia today – the first major capital works project, completed under our £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme which represents one of the biggest investments in leisure provision in the UK.
“Not only will it offer the most modern and advanced leisure amenities but also the first luxury Day Spa, of its kind, within such a public facility in Belfast.
“This is one of its key attractions just like the plans for our other three leisure centres in the city – ‘family fun’ leisure waters at Andersonstown; top outdoor sports provision at Brook and a key aquatic centre for the city at the Robinson Centre site.”
Sports Minister Paul Givan, whose Department contributed £2.75 million to the construction of the project, said: “This project has been an exciting partnership between the Department for Communities and Belfast City Council that has provided a state-of-the-art leisure centre at the rear of the West stand at Windsor Park.
“The new facilities will be a tremendous boost for the social, leisure and economic wellbeing of those from the local community and indeed, its positive influence will also be enjoyed by a much wider audience.”
Gareth Kirk, GLL Regional Director, said: “As a social enterprise, GLL are extremely proud to be managing the new Olympia. Olympia will be the jewel in the crown of Belfast’s leisure facilities and will deliver unrivalled health and wellbeing opportunities. Our affordable Better membership options offer customers access to the spa, gym, pool and fitness classes, plus admission to our other Better leisure centres across the city.
“Since GLL arrived Belfast in January 2015, overall use of leisure facilities has increased by 20 percent and the uptake in the number of children in the city learning to swim in our lessons each week has doubled. The opening of this fantastic new building will see further opportunities for more local people to become more active more often.”
The new Olympia will combine leisure facilities such as a gym, swimming, sports hall along with exciting new products like the Day Spa and a Coffee Corner. The transformation continues outside with a new tree-lined boulevard planned by next year which will also include a new play space, target zone and 3G pitch.
The new facility will also not just provide first-class leisure amenities but offer a range of community activities and programmes for local residents.
To celebrate the official opening of the new Olympia this month, a free launch party will also take place at the centre on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January with fitness class taster sessions, tours and face painting and a bouncy castle for children.
For more information, visit www.better.org.uk/olympia7
Further details on the council’s £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme can be found at belfastcity.gov.uk/leisure/transformingleisure