Conlon completes university's £6m sports hall

Preston-based Conlon Construction has completed the final phase of Lancaster University's new £6m sports hall.

The 1,347 sq hall is an extension of the university’s existing sports facilities and has been created to encourage more people from within the university and the local community to engage in sports activities.

It features full-size sports courts, including a basketball court and eight badminton courts, as well as retractable seating for more than 500 people.

Professor Andy Schofield, Lancaster University’s vice-chancellor, said: "The building will be a real asset to the university, providing a great setting for sport but also, considering the current pressure on teaching space due to the pandemic, much-needed space to support teaching and exams.”

Through the project, Conlon has also become the first contractor in the region to complete Lancaster City Council’s Employment and Skills Plan (ESP), a programme designed to ensure that local p­­eople are given education and training opportunities that enable them to gain meaningful employment.

Conlon has promised to provide opportunities for young people on any future development of more than 1,000 sq m or 20 houses, and to prioritise Lancaster residents for training and apprenticeships.

To satisfy its pledge, Conlon Construction partnered with key suppliers including Lancaster University’s estates department, Lancaster City Council’s planning department, Construction Skills Training and Employment Partnership (CSTEP), and Lancaster & Morecambe College. It went on to exceed a series of targets relating to job creation, qualifications, on-site training weeks and work placements, which were achieved throughout the development of the sports hall.

We did more than simply construct a building; we made an immediate and long-term difference to Lancaster

In total, Conlon Construction delivered 10 weeks of work placements to a total of six students from Lancaster & Morecambe College and Newman College in Preston. Apprentices, trainees and new entrants completed 257 weeks of on-site training, while 16 qualifications and certifications were achieved. Two full time roles with Conlon Construction were created via the National Skills Academy for Construction.

Neil Conlon, director for Conlon Construction, said: "The completion of the Lancaster University sports hall is a demonstration of what a true, collective effort can achieve, even during times of significant adversity.

"When this landmark sports hall can open its doors fully to the public, we will be sound in the knowledge that we did more than simply construct a building; we have made an immediate and long-term difference to the Lancaster economy and its young people."

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