On Thursday 26 October, more than 80 guests including senior representatives from across the sports sector, national and regional economic development partners, the University community, and project team gathered to celebrate the opening of the £9m expansion of SportPark.
SportPark Pavilion 4 is Loughborough University’s first Passivhaus development which is widely regarded as the most challenging energy efficiency and comfort standards in the world. Designed by David Morley Architects, the original architects of SportPark which opened in 2010, and built by Henry Brothers Construction, it will soon receive an International Green Apple Award for Sustainable Development, Building and Construction and Carbon Reduction. There are only 5 Passivhaus Certified office buildings in the UK, and SportPark Pavilion 4 is a strong contender for a podium position in performance terms.
Dame Katherine Grainger said: “SportPark’s vision was to inspire and connect people from different organisations, united by the same energy, passion and belief that through sport, we can do better, we can be better, and we can achieve extraordinary things. It’s wonderful to be part of that community at Loughborough, where chance introductions and conversations can produce exciting, unpredictable, and incredible results.
SportPark Pavilion 4 continues to build on this vision. It’s a stunning building. But what will make it really fly is the people who inhabit it, their creativity and collaboration. I’m very optimistic for what the future will bring.”
Relocating its headquarters from London to SportPark in 2021, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) is SportPark Pavilion 4’s anchor tenant, occupying the entire third floor. Philip Bunt, UKAD’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are delighted with the results of the move. We chose Loughborough University because it is the leading sports university in the country, with far more sports bodies based here than elsewhere. We wanted to get closer to them. And working in partnership with the University gives us the opportunity to influence how students understand sport integrity.”
Alex Owen, Chief Financial Officer of Loughborough University and executive lead for the development of LUSEP, said: “SportPark Pavilion 4 has been superb team effort which sets the benchmark for the sustainable development of the University campus.
SportPark’s expansion will further strengthen the vibrant ecosystem, enabling us to welcome even more sports organisations and businesses seeking to collaborate with LUSEP’s wider innovation community, the University’s world-leading sport-related research capabilities, facilities, performance base and living lab of athletes.
And together, we can drive forward new research in the University’s strategic theme areas, sport, health and wellbeing, vibrant and inclusive communities and climate change and net zero.”
These partnerships allow us to drive innovation and change faster and with more impact, as well as creating new jobs, boosting the regional economy, and providing more opportunities for our students.”
Andy Reed OBE, Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership chair said: “Funding support for SportPark Pavilion 4 has helped to deliver a superb building that is also highly sustainable – a key pillar of the regional economic growth strategy.
“The investment has created jobs and brought further leading sports organisations to base themselves here in Loughborough, adding to its reputation for collaboration and innovation.”
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chair of Loughborough Town Deal Board, said: “Loughborough is synonymous with elite sport and that’s why the Town Deal Board was keen to support this project.
“SportPark is an outstanding asset to have in the town and it brings many benefits to the local economy and communities. The Town Deal Board is already delivering for Loughborough, and this is another outstanding project which has brought investment into the area.”
SportPark Pavilion 4 is delivered by the LLEP as part of the Getting Building Fund. Funds were designated for investment in local, shovel-ready infrastructure projects to stimulate jobs and support economic recovery across the country. The LLEP was allocated £20m, supporting the SportPark expansion with £6m.
Further funding has been provided through the University’s Healthy and Innovative Loughborough project which received £2.5m from the Government’s Towns Fund via Loughborough Town Deal. The project aims to build on the town’s reputation for sporting excellence and harness that knowledge for the good of residents. The Town Deal is backing 11 projects worth over £40m of investment to Loughborough.