Plans have emerged for a new indoor training centre at the Clickimin which will serve pupils in the new Anderson High School.
The building, which would be suitable for football and rugby as well as other sports, is designed to provide extra space for PE lessons and local sportsmen and sportswomen out of school hours.
It is hoped a steel truss design will be built with a tensile membrane covering, allowing natural light to permeate inside. It could have a synthetic playing surface of 60 metres by 40 metres divisible into three smaller areas with lifting dividers.
Local residents and representatives from sporting organisations were shown plans for the 12.5 metre high structure, which would be located south of the existing Clickimin Leisure Complex, at a meeting on Monday night.
The centre is expected to cost between £1.4 million and £1.7 million, and would be part-funded by Shetland Islands Council. A funding application has also been submitted to sportscotland.
General manager of Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT), James Johnston, said: “We have been working very closely with the SIC to ensure we can provide the requisite space for the needs of pupils at the new Anderson High School.
“At the same time we need to continue to provide the very best sporting facilities we can to the general public and user groups.
“So, again working with the council, we have devised what we feel is the best solution in the form of a 60 x 40 metre facility.
“As well as benefiting pupils during the day, it would free up space within the existing leisure complex in the evenings and at weekends for busy groups such as those offering gymnastics.”
Mr Johnston added: “We already have shared use of leisure facilities at our centres in the rural areas of Shetland, so we know this is a model that works well.
Shared use also means there is no unnecessary duplication of sporting facilities.”
Chairman of the Shetland Sporting Partnership Strategic Group, SIC councillor George Smith, said the new centre would be a “tremendous addition” to sporting facilities in the isles.
“This … will provide much needed pitch space under cover, to help our sports people develop their skills and enjoyment of their sport,” he added.
Chairman of the Shetland Football Partnership, Eric Graham, said the football community was “thrilled and excited”.
“It will allow for greater balance between summer and winter football with its size being adaptable to suit different group numbers and structures.
“The environment this will create will be perfect for the training and playing of football, but we believe even more importantly for increased levels of participation and enjoyment as well as retaining even more of the young people in our sport.”
Mr Johnston said SRT hoped to be able to submit a planning application for the building by the end of this month.