VIDEO: School’s £1m sports centre is now open to public

It’s a remarkable coup for a primary school – their own new £1million sports hall.

But that’s the exciting future for 387 pupils, aged four to 11, at Meadowdale Primary Academy in Market Harborough.

Meadowdale Primary Academy's site manager Andy Blyth and PE teacher Aiden Probert with pupils inside the new Meadowdale Sports Centre in Market Harborough. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-151002-085835001

Meadowdale Primary Academy's site manager Andy Blyth and PE teacher Aiden Probert with pupils inside the new Meadowdale Sports Centre in Market Harborough. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-151002-085835001

The sports hall – the grey building visible from the town’s Rockingham Road – was being used by thrilled pupils for the first time this week.

And Meadowdale primary’s head teacher Kerry Rodger explained: “I believe there’s a direct correlation between fitness, wellbeing and being able to learn well in the classroom.”

The school got the money for their amazing hall from the Education Funding Agency (EFA), a Government body that distributes money for worthy school projects.

The key for the EFA was the school’s promise that the sports hall was a community facility, available to members of the public out of school hours.

Outside the Meadowdale Sports Centre in Market Harborough. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-151002-085812001

Outside the Meadowdale Sports Centre in Market Harborough. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-151002-085812001

People can book it by calling the school office on 01858 465479.

The money you pay will go back into the school and the hall’s upkeep.

The sports centre features three full-sized badminton courts surrounded by a large run-off area and a ceiling height of about 25ft.

It is the only facility of its kind on the eastern side of Market Harborough.

The changing rooms and showers at the new Meadowdale Sports Centre in Market Harborough. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-151002-085824001

The changing rooms and showers at the new Meadowdale Sports Centre in Market Harborough. (PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-151002-085824001

The school is already taking bookings from sports clubs and community groups and for corporate events and parties.

It calls the hall “an exciting extension to our sporting facilities, which include two playing fields and a large playground”.

The school says: “We hope to be able to offer children the opportunity to experience new sports such as fencing, basketball and gymnastics, as well as providing improved, all-weather facilities for the sports we already offer, such as cricket and netball.”

The school has already enjoyed plenty of sporting success during the 2013-14 academic year.

Its football team won the division title, the swimming team won the Leicester and countywide Leicester-Shire Summer Games and two of its pupils reached county level in cross-country.

Chairman of governors Angus McGregor has said: “The new sports hall will provide a brilliant opportunity for the children of Meadowdale to participate in sports activities all year round.”

The school has become a real sports specialist – not just for its own sake, but because it reinforces the whole curriculum, said Mrs Rodger.

“Sport can teach you so much,” she said.

The school even employs its own full-time specialist sports teacher, Aiden Probert, who was head-hunted by the school from a visiting sports provider.

And the school’s site manager Andy Blyth added: “The school opened in 2000 with 210 pupils but we’ve now grown to almost 400 children.

“It has always been a vision of mine to improve the sporting facilities.

“The sports hall is great news for the school and will help us further develop our sporting capability.”