Gym users can start looking forward to expanded facilities in Lerwick now that work has begun on a £1.5 million project at Clickimin Leisure Complex.
The extension, due to be completed by October next year, will see the creation of a new gym as well as a central reception to improve access.
Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) manages the building. Its chairman Bryan Leask said: “This is an exciting development in the evolution of the Clickimin Leisure Complex.”
Local firm DITT is carrying out the work, which officially began on Wednesday afternoon with a turf-cutting ceremony. Diggers actually moved in more than a week earlier with new temporary entrances to the pool and gyms being used while the work is under way.
Mr Leask said: “The gym has been bursting at the seams in recent years and with the new facility being 250 square metres we are more than doubling capacity, which will be a huge improvement.”
SRT general manager James Johnston said organisations such as NHS Shetland and Disability Shetland were among those who had expressed disappointment with the lack of space and equipment.
He said the new gym would address those concerns and the fact the extension will be on ground level will make access easier for such groups.
Mr Leask also highlighted the benefits the new reception will bring.
He said: “The central reception will help us save energy costs because it will prevent heat and humidity loss from the pool building. Having one reception instead of two will result in greater efficiency for both customers and staff.”
Architect Peter Johnson explained that the existing main entrance will continue to be used.
“You’ll come through a double-door lobby, into the big new central reception area and from there you can either go into the pool or the main building,” he said.
Of the £1.5 million funding package, around £919,000 comes from Shetland Islands Council as part of the agreement to build the new Anderson High School.
The rest comes from the Shetland Leader Programme (£325,000) and SRT (£232,000).