The squash courts and bowls hall at the National Sports Centre (NSC) have been greatly improved after flooding caused their closure.
Severe flooding that affected the whole Island badly damaged the NSC and its surrounds on 3 December. The bowls hall and squash courts were among the worst affected parts of the building in Groves Road.
The bowls hall reopens today (Monday) while the new-look squash courts will be back in use next Monday (26 September).
Tim Crookall MLC, Minister for Education and Children, said
‘Flood water destroyed the playing surface and surrounds of the bowls hall and these have been completely replaced.
‘Liaising with the Isle of Man Bowls Association, we have raised the playing surface to make it easier for our disabled customers to access and have installed access gates for wheelchair users.
‘We have also improved lighting in the bowls hall, although further work needs to be done on heating and ventilation systems, necessitating a short closure in a few weeks’ time.’
The Minister continued:
‘The squash courts were so waterlogged that it took until April for them to completely dry out and it was only upon obtaining certification that this was complete that we could commence work.
‘We took the opportunity to improve and upgrade the courts in consultation with the Isle of Man Squash Rackets Association.
‘All six of the courts now have glass-backed walls, to improve spectator viewing. Previously only four courts had this.
‘The squash courts have new plastered walls, sprung floors and lighting, heating and ventilation systems – improving humidity and temperature control.
‘The squash centre now has the addition of players’ lockers.’
The Minister said:
‘I would like to thank bowlers and squash players for their patience while this work has been carried out and hope they benefit from the improvements we have been able to make.’
Work continues on the final part of the NSC yet to reopen, the all-weather pitch.
Replacement floodlights are brighter than previous lighting and two floodlit warm-up areas are being added. There will be two new team dugouts and new spectator seating/shelters. The pitch will be a more sport-standard blue instead of green.
It’s hoped to reopen the pitch in late October or early November.