The site which will become home to Aberdeen's state-of-the-art aquatic centre has started to take shape with demolition of the former Linksfield Academy now well under way.
Over the last week, the majority of the old school has been torn down, revealing for the first time the scale of the area which will house a 50m swimming pool, diving facilities, spectator seating and a health suite.
The aquatic centre is the next phase of the Aberdeen Sports Village development and will provide long lane training opportunities for elite swimmers who currently have no facilities north of Stirling and provide a community facility that will encourage participation in water-based activities at all ages and abilities.
It is a joint project between the University of Aberdeen, sportscotland and Aberdeen City Council and today (October 19) senior representatives from each of the funding partners will visit the site to see the progress made.
Contractor GRAHAM Construction, which has a strong track record in delivering high quality leisure facilities, including the refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, is undertaking the demolition of the school and subsequent building work on the aquatic centre.
Since moving onto the site off King Street in July all of the ‘soft-strip’ of the former Linksfield Academy has been completed, including the removal of wood and other recyclable materials from the building.
Undertaking this method of deconstruction has allowed almost 80 per cent of the old school to be recycled.
Demolition work will be completed by the end of November and ground breaking for the new centre is expected to take place towards the end of the year.
Edward Bill, Contracts Manager, GRAHAM Construction, said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and it’s a great result that so much of the material from the demolition of the school will be recycled.
“GRAHAM Construction has a wealth of experience delivering state-of-the-art sports facilities and the Aquatic Centre is an exciting new challenge for the team.
“Work on site is progressing well and piling has begun to lay the foundations of what will be an impressive resource for Aberdeen.”
The aquatic centre has enjoyed strong support from the local business community with an anonymous donor committing more than £1million to the project to enable a 10 lane facility to be built and Aberdeen transport giant, FirstGroup, providing a further £100,000 of funding.
Another north-east businessman has also provided a six figure sum in support of the centre, due to open in 2014.
Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, welcomed progress at the site.
He said: “The aquatic centre will be a wonderful extension to the already successful Aberdeen Sports Village.
“This is a much needed facility which will develop future generations of talent in the north-east of Scotland and help foster a more healthy and active local community.”
Aberdeen City Council's convener of Education, Culture and Sport Committee, Councillor John West added: "The 50m pool will create fantastic opportunities to get more people swimming more often. Added to the already highly successful sports village, it will provide access to a complete range of sporting choices, situated in one of the most economically deprived areas of Aberdeen."
Chief Executive of sportscotland Stewart Harris said: “The new Aquatics Centre will provide a first class training and competition venue that will enhance and sustain the successful swimming development structures that have long been in operation in the north-east.
“The pool itself will be one of the best in Europe, not just in Scotland, and features such as the state of the art diving facility, with dry diving apparatus, make this a truly world class facility.
“It is well established partnerships and swimming programmes which have helped this part of the country develop a reputation for producing world class swimmers. The development here will further enhance that reputation and help deliver future success in aquatics.”