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Exeter College in £14m sports plan

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

By Anne Byrne

  • An artist’s impression of the proposals

  • College principal Richard Atkins checks the plans with students Tegan Ivall and Lewis Burges

  • An artist’s impression of the proposals

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EXETER College has unveiled plans to spend £14m on sport provision in Exeter over the next four years.

It wants to ensure the city has an Olympic legacy by providing state-of-the-art facilities which will benefit the community as well as students.

It has unveiled plans for two new multi-million pound projects – a £6.5m sports hall complex at its Queen Street campus, and a sports hub at the former Civil Service Club in Exwick.

If granted planning permission by the city council, the sports hall will not only benefit the college's students but also local sports clubs, by providing access to better facilities.

The college has received a £2.6m grant from the Skills Funding Agency to help with the cost of building a sports hall with six badminton courts. It will also have two classrooms and a sports science and rehabilitation laboratory.

It will be one of the best indoor facilities in the region and will accommodate sports such as futsal – a South American version of five-a-side football which is one of the world's fastest-growing indoor sport.

The college will work with the city council to create the sports hub at the former club site in Ennerdale Way.

The plan is to build a £1.4m pavilion for use by students and sports club members.

Richard Atkins, principal of Exeter College, said: "The latest news about our sports hall proposal follows a number of important developments for sports and fitness at Exeter College in the last year, and we're delighted that, working so closely with our partners, we're able to celebrate these investments.

"Sport has always been very important to the college, with our individual students and teams recording important successes in local, regional and national competitions.

"These new developments will not only be of benefit to these elite sportsmen and women but, through the work of our partners, benefit the local and regional community."

The latest developments are the third phase of plans to boost sports provision in the city.

Phase one of the plan has already seen £1m invested, converting an old engineering workshop into a fitness centre at the college's Queen Street site.

Phase two is well under way, with Exeter College undertaking to manage the new £5.6m Outdoor Education Centre at Haven Banks.

It has been built and paid for by Devon County Council, and is the biggest single sum to be allocated from the proceeds of the sale of Exeter Airport.

The project is due for completion in the summer and will ensure people of all ages can benefit from the world-class facility, as well as contribute to the development and regeneration of the Exeter Canal Basin.

The college is also working in partnership with Sport England, the Association of Colleges and Active Devon. It has appointed a College Sports Maker to increase levels of participation in physical activity across the college. The permanent post will be initially funded by Sport England for five years.

John Hart, leader of Devon County Council, said: "DCC is investing £5.6m into making Haven Banks a centre for world class outdoor education.

"We were delighted when Exeter College agreed to manage the facility for us and I am particularly pleased to see the other investment they are now making in sports facilities."

Matt Evans, chief executive of Active Devon, said: "The drop off in participation in sport has been well documented among teenagers and so the opportunity to work with young people in college to help them to get active, keep participating in sport and contribute as volunteers is really important."

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