Rugby’s new leisure centre: our reporter’s verdict

The impressive new swimming pool
The impressive new swimming pool
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Advertiser reporter Pete Horton was one of the first people to be given a tour of Rugby’s new leisure centre. Here’s what he made of it...

* Do you agree with Pete’s verdict? Let us know:

As far as I can tell, the best things about Rugby’s new leisure centre haven’t yet been described online, in press releases or in the media.

You’d expect any brand new leisure centre to be sleek, attractive, and spacious - and Rugby’s is. But you’re only made aware of the really cool features when you take a closer a look.

Take the gym, for instance, where every cardio-machine has its own touch-screen that provides free internet access. You can use the tablet-like device to plug in your phone and run an app that tracks your performance, or play performance-related games or, if you prefer, just watch television.

Thoughtful details like those are present throughout the whole building, from the tiny lockers you can use to keep your keys and phone safe in the giant dance studio to the bars that run across the changing room cubicles that provide extra hanging space.

They’ve even made the reception area extra vast so it will never get clogged up with school children, sports teams and other users.

Every tiny detail of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre seems to have been designed to be as practical, simple and as stress-free as possible.

The important things, the sports hall and swimming pools, are a vast improvement on the grubby Ken Marriott centre’s and would easily compete with any others in the region.

The under-floor heated sports hall is much bigger, containing six badminton courts instead of four, while the pool is so attractive that you immediately, instinctively, want to dive in head first.

Both the sports hall and swimming pools are carefully heated and cooled to make sure they’re always the right temperature.

New additions include a sauna and steam room, and the former, I’m told, will have an array of scented steams wafted through it including the manager’s favourite steam room aroma, peppermint.

There’s also two studios, a smaller one and a larger dance studio that’s the size of a small sports hall and is the first in the UK to have arcade-style dance mats.

The smaller studio is bright and, like the centre’s climbing wall, over-looks the town’s athletics track, which probably isn’t a bad view to have in front of you if you’re doing yoga, or have just spent half an hour grappling with a climbing wall.

I could probably talk all day about the centre’s many nerdy, but impressive details (the LED lighting and its eco-friendly wood-burning boiler, and so on), but they’re probably not as interesting as the fact that everywhere I went, I wanted to get involved.

It’s all so new, well designed and aesthetically pleasing that I wanted to vault up the climbing wall (I’m almost certain I couldn’t, but that’s not the point), dive into the swimming pool and sprint across the sports hall with a football before smashing it at some goal-post, and I don’t think it was quite the same at the old Ken Marriott.

Aside from not having any squash courts, there’s not a bad thing to say about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre – it’s big, looks amazing, and it’s ours.

* Basic gym or pool access is £22 a month, or £39 for access to both.