The tendering process has begun for the construction of a massive new sporting centre of excellence for the north west region.
Questionnaires have been issued to anyone wishing to secure the contract to demolish the existing St Columb’s Park leisure centre and build a new 7,000sq metre North West Regional Sports Campus (NWRSC).
The £11.7m facility will service the north west region of Northern Ireland and the Republic, and will be able to host major sporting tournaments and events.
The successful tender will be contracted to start work in June 2013, with the building and demolition work to be completed by November 2014.
The new centre — which was first mooted around 20 years ago — will be built further back in St Columb’s Park, on what is currently a shale hockey pitch.
The NWRSC will be developed as a centre of excellence for judo, wrestling and mountaineering and has received the full backing of the national governing bodies of each association.
Other features will include a 25-metre swimming pool, learner pool and fitness suite.
There will be a climbing arena with a 15ft indoor climbing wall, a two-mat judo hall with spectator seating and a multi-purpose area separated from the judo hall with a retractable roof mounted partition
There will also be a wrestling hall, a strength and conditioning suite, a fitness suite, internal and external changing facilities, offices and break-out areas.
The NWRSC will become the largest permanent indoor events space in Derry, with a 2,000-seat capacity.
Outside the building, extensive site-works will also involve the laying of two floodlit, synthetic five-a-side football pitches.
Modifications will be made to an existing grass pitch, while the road entrance to the site from the Limavady Road will be widened and a new pedestrian entrance constructed.
Current car park facilities will also be extended after the demolition of the current leisure centre, which was constructed in 1971.