Hundreds more youngsters have pulled on their training kit and got into fitness after a boxing academy moved into a high-tech purpose-built gym built by us in just six weeks – and at a third of the price of a typical sports hall.
The Bradford Police and College Boxing Academy has doubled the numbers of people it has had through the door since the opening of the Bradford College Boxing Centre, at the college’s £17m Trinity Green Sports Complex.
Boasting three boxing rings, a full range of hitting equipment, mirrors, weights and two full sets of instant playback equipment for performance analysis, the hall has proved popular with young boxers. It has also seen the Academy become one of a handful designated High Performance Boxing Centres across the UK and it has allowed it to open up its facilities to more groups, including the University of Bradford’s womens’ boxing team.
It will also act as a pre-Games training base for a number of Olympic boxing teams, representing India, China, Vietnam, Tanzania and Sierra Leone.
It is, in short, a significant addition to Yorkshire’s sporting scene and a proud example of the London 2012 legacy, yet it quite easily might never have ever got off the ground.
Just a year ago, the Academy was dividing its time between four venues operated by other organisations, none of which were big enough to meet its needs. It had a long waiting list, limited funding and, with the Olympics fast approaching, little chance to take part.
Constructed using an anodised aluminium frame in-filled with steel-clad sandwich panels, the hall was manufactured and supplied by us and, although it could theoretically be removed as easily as it has been erected, it is designed to last for many years. This is because it is as sturdy as a permanent building, having been manufactured to comply with British and EEC safety standards for structural integrity, fire and safety codes, as well as British Standards for wind and snow loading.
We laid the concrete base, installed a semi-translucent roof, which allows in daylight to save lighting costs, and fitted a host of other amenities, including a temperature control system. The whole cost of the project was £300,000 which, according to figures from Sport England, shows a significant saving. The average cost of a similar-sized sports hall, based on typical schemes funded through the Lottery last year, would be around the £1m mark – more than three times as expensive.
What is more, everything was accomplished in just six weeks, giving the academy, whose building was funded by Bradford College, West Yorkshire Police and the Amateur Boxing Association, plenty of time to prepare for the Olympics.
“There is no doubt that without the building, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” said Paul Porter, Boxing Development Officer at the academy. “Prior to this we worked across four sites but mainly shared a gym. It was OK, but it wasn’t designed for what we wanted to do and we didn’t have control of the layout. At the same time, we didn’t have the funding for a new bricks and mortar building and certainly could not have got it in time to play such a big part in the Olympics.
Now we have a gym that has helped us to meet the high demand that we were experiencing. It’s twice as big as the space we had, it is tailor-made for us and we have it for more hours each week.
This has enabled us to quadruple our operations and expand into new areas that we had to hold off on. For just £300,000, not only have we transformed what we are able to do, we now have one of the best boxing facilities in the country.”