Northumbria University's Sport Central, an investment in Tyneside's sporting future.
PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:38 20 February 2013
For the price of a half-decent centre-forward, Tyneside is set to benefit from an investment in our sporting future. Roger Tames has been taking a tour
So what do you get these days for a mere 30 million? In sport, it might not be enough to get you a Premier League striker. And even if it does, theres no guarantee your investment will yield a decent dividend in footballs currency of goals.
But take a walk along the newly pedestrianised Northumberland Road in Newcastles City Centre and youll find how 30 million can buy you one of the most impressive and innovative sports facilities this region has ever seen.
Northumbria University is the home of Sport Central. The university has already produced Olympic champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton, Commonwealth champion swimmer Chris Cook and England rugbys
Jamie Noon, plus an international changing room full of others stretching
back to Steve Cram.
Now Northumbria can boast a facility which is more than just the best a university can offer, its as good as anything in the whole country. That was the considered opinion of Tyneside sporting legend Brendan Foster when he officially opened Sport Central recently.
The centrepiece 3,000-seat sports hall has already become the home of the countrys most consistently successful basketball team, Newcastle Eagles, who have moved from their previous home at the Metro Radio Arena. And the venue is also the home court for Team Northumbria in the
Sky Sports televised Netball Super League.
Elite sport is gaining elsewhere inside a building where the most talented
performers have the chance to test and improve themselves - even the golfers.
Two new golf simulators utilising the latest GPS technology can not only replicate the most difficult golf holes in the world, but also analyse every aspect of a top players swing as he or she practises his draw or fade. In fact, its the technological areas deep inside Sport Central that impress even more than the second massive sports hall, squash courts with movable walls, six-lane pool or even a superbly equipped gym area the size of the average Marks & Spencer.
Next to the indoor sprint track on the top floor, youll find a series of laboratories that are at the heart of the buildings academic remit, where sports studies students can analyse every aspect of individual or team sporting performance.
Northumbria has made a significant investment over recent years in its research capacity, emphasises Katrina Dexter, marketing manager at the School of Life Sciences. These new facilities enable us to continue to conduct world-class research and attract the brightest academic and
sporting talents to the North East.
A multi camera studio next door charted 360-degree body movement for a bio-mechanics workshop. On the track, sensors were helping record the
split-second times a sprinters foot was in contact with the running surface.
Sport Central will play a key role in our continuing efforts to produce the
sporting champions of tomorrow, insists performance sport manager Cathy Rooney. These are incredibly exciting times for performance sport at Northumbria University.
Jen Rudin, the universitys community sport manager said: Sport Central is fully open to the public so that everyone in the North East can benefit from the superb facilities. There are a number of community schemes which encourage schools and local sports clubs to use the facilities, particularly over the summer.
So, Sport Central represents a pretty good investment at 30 million in these inflated sporting times. And it wont get injured or misbehave in nightclubs.
A whistle-stop tour of our stunning 30 Million Sports Complex, Sport Central