New gyms are making a splash

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A controversial decision by North Lanarkshire Council to close school swimming pools earlier this year has allowed the way for state-of-the-art gym halls.

For pupils and staff at Kilsyth Academy and St Maurice’s High School in Cumbernauld have seen their old swimming pools turned into new fitness studios.

The News and Chronicle reported back in March that North Lanarkshire Council were closing all school swimming pools by August in Abronhill High School, Cumbernauld High School, Grennfaulds High School, Kilsyth Academy and St Maurice’s High School.

The decision, which was made as part of the recent £62.4 million savings package, will save the council £93,000 over the next three years.

The council said that swimming pools were being phased out in the new build/modernisation projects and the decision effected six of the 24 high schools.

The saving was put forward because of the poor condition of the ageing pools which would require significant investment to bring them up to acceptable standard.

The council also said that there was limited usage of the pools, both by schools and the wider community.

And for Kilsyth Academy and St Maurice’s High School, the option existed to simply close off the pools and convert them to alternative use within the capital programme.

The work to transform the pools took place over the summer holidays with the total costs for both halls coming to £95,000.

The headteachers of both schools have welcomed the new facilities.

Patricia Alexander, headteacher of St Maurice’s High School, added: “It’s a fantastic area to be used by all pupils and putting the gymnastics apparatus in the studio has freed up another area so we are now able to offer trampolining to our pupils.”

Gillian Caldwell, headteacher of Kilsyth Academy, added: “Our new fitness studio has turned out really well, it’s a good use of the space available and the acoustics are good too.

“It’s already proving popular with pupils.

Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services at North Lanarkshire Council, says the new facilities are an asset to the schools.

Councillor Logue said: “The new halls are already proving an asset to both schools.

“Kilsyth Academy’s new fitness studio is equipped with the latest equipment including weights, spinning bikes, running machines and kettle bells.

“While St Maurice’s High School boasts new gymnastic equipment and trampolining sessions are now being offered to pupils for the first time. “

Councillor Logue added: “We are expecting participation rates to increase as a result of this investment.”