Work is underway on a new leisure centre which is expected to serve tens of thousands of residents.
Construction of the Five Towns Leisure and Wellbeing Hub began in March of this year, with an aim of opening the centre in autumn 2020.
Though it is little more than scaffolding at the moment, the finished centre will include a 10 lane swimming pool, a 115-station gym, exercise studios, a splash pad water confidence area and a public cafe, accessible by park users.
Outside, the Hub, which is designed to serve residents from across the Five Towns, will feature four tennis courts, a wellbeing garden and a 3G Artificial Grass football pitch.
Councillor Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “This is an exciting project that will benefit so many people. All aspects are coming together nicely.
“I am thrilled that we have been successful in both our funding bids which demonstrates the confidence that these organisations have in this project to deliver health and sports benefits to the communities it will be serving.
“A huge thank you to everyone who plays the National Lottery, we wouldn’t be able to do this without you.”
Parallel to the building work, the council is working with construction partner Wilmott Dixon to develop outreach and community projects which will benefit the Five Towns.
Around 40 people are currently at work on the site, with numbers expected to rise to 100 before the end of the job.
Paul Buckley, the project’s build manager, said there was an ongoing effort to make sure that local staff were used wherever possible.
Work on the site, which has been ongoing for 16 weeks, has so far included foundations and structural work, as well as the re-routing of water pipes which serve the Pontefract area.
Construction on the building’s roof is expected to begin later this month.
Once completed, the centre will feature:
A 10-lane swimming pool
Studio pool with moveable floor
115-station health and fitness gym
Full size 3G artificial pitch
Expanded car parking
Dedicated spin studio
Four outside tennis courts
Meeting and conference rooms
£20.8 million, has also been aided by £2 million in grants, including a £1.5 million award from the National Lottery, awarded by Sport England.
The Football Foundation, which channels funding from the FA and the Government, also provided £500,000.
‘Preparing for the future’
The new Hub is expected to serve residents across the Five Towns, with leisure centres in Castleford and Knottingley closed to prepare for its opening.
But Sarah Scholes, Wakefield Council’s project manager for the Hub, said that the centre would more than provide for those who needed it.
She said: “This was the most accessible out of all the sites that were looked at.
“This replaces and provides more. By closing three and having one, we have protected and future-proofed it.
“It will be the most expensive leisure centre we have. It’s a flagship really.
“It’s not just about having a leisure centre, it’s a well-being facility. Having the park outside the gym is like being outdoors.”
Pontefract Swimming Pool will remain open until the new Hub opens.