STRATTON leisure centre’s £1m facelift is nearing completion and a date is set for an opening ceremony in early February.

The refurbishment of the leisure centre, in Grange Drive in Stratton St Margaret, is only a week behind schedule and is expected to be fully operational by February 7, only seven months after work began.

Refurbishment of the site has been long in the waiting since the facility is more than 30 years old, and a substantial increase in trade over the past few years meant the facelift was needed in order to meet local demands.

Chairman of the parish council, John Foley, said: “It’s been a long time coming. We have been planning it for the past two or three years now and it’s nearly finished and it’s been a great success.

“The workers have worked extremely hard down there and of course the staff too.

“Everybody has been involved in the project and it really has been a great success.”

The work on the leisure centre included installing an all-weather grass pitch at the back of the centre, as well as major work on the roof of the main sports hall and a replacement floor.

A new health and fitness suite has been developed after converting the old squash courts, and offices have been built for Stratton St Margaret Parish Council.

Fire doors have also been replaced and the fire system updated, as well as a new lick of paint to the Grange Bar, toilets and changing room facilities.

Other structural work has also taken place to keep the building safe, operational and weatherproof, and work has also been carried out on the foyer and reception area.

Richard White, catering manager at the leisure centre, said: “The refurb has gone superbly well and it’s looking good.

“Work on the gym started in July, that was phase one and there are still a few bits and pieces to do but it’s almost finished. Everything has been given a lick of paint too so it’s looking really good.”

Shortly after the work is completed on February 13 the parish council offices will move from their current site in Addison Crescent into the specially built offices in the Grange Drive leisure centre.

In the meantime, the Addison Crescent building will remain available for community use, and will become the headquarters for the 2003 (Stratton) Squadron of the ATC.

The new building will be officially opened on February 14.