A new £5m University of Leeds sports facility is to be named after its most successful alumni athletes, Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.
The Brownlee Centre sits alongside a new 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit – one of the longest in the country – at the University’s Bodington playing fields in north Leeds.
The unique centre, which opens in April, is the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training base and will provide the first permanent home for the world-class Leeds Triathlon Centre.
The 10 month project has involved extensive work to revive the original sports pavilion into a modernised Centre. Now offering a welcoming reception area and newly redesigned changing facilities, the former pavilion has also benefited from a first floor extension to incorporate a new spectator viewing area, a kitchen/café area and social space with glazed windows providing views of the cycle circuit.
The closed loop cycle circuit design incorporates changes in gradient, a mildly banked hairpin corner and triathlon transition area. A significant investment has been made to install circuit lighting to enable extended hours of use and a footbridge across the circuit to provide users with access to both the cycle circuit and sports fields.
Dedicated facilities for the Leeds Triathlon Centre have also been constructed within the former Pavilion –these include combining a strength and conditioning training suite, physiotherapy, medical and other support services.
Partnership funding from Sport England, UK Sport, British Cycling and British Triathlon is contributing £1million to the project, with the remaining funding provided by the University.
The site will also continue to be used for grass sports including football and rugby. The next phase of development will see three additional grass pitches, with work scheduled for completion in September 2017.