Major Improvement Works Mean Four Month Closure of Academy Sport Swimming Pool

THE swimming pool at Academy Sport Leisure Centre will close for a period of up to four months from Monday October 2nd for essential maintenance work, including the replacement of key pool plant equipment.

The pool at Academy Sport – previously known at South Reading Leisure Centre – now dates back to 1983. The Whitley pool was transferred back into the management of Reading Sport and Leisure this year, after being operated and managed by the John Madejski Academy since 2007. The Council is now replacing much of the original plant and equipment at the pool as part of a major investment programme which will allow the pool to operate in future years.

Major work includes the complete replacement of the boilers which heat the pool, and the remainder of the plant. Both form part of the original fabric of the pool when it opened 34 years ago and are now beyond their expected lifespan.

Similarly, the air handling system at the pool is failing and beyond repair. The Council will be fitting a complete modern new ventilation system to create a more pleasant swimming environment for pool users.

As work takes place to replace the heating and ventilation systems, contractors working on behalf of the Council will also be upgrading the pool filtration plant and water distribution systems.

Regular pool users have already been notified of the temporary closure and posters advertising it are up at the in Northumberland Avenue centre. Existing Academy Sport members are able to use facilities and activities within their current membership packages at other Reading Sport and Leisure Centres. These are at Central Swimming Pool and Meadway Sports Centre.

The Council has also consulted with local schools who currently use the pool, and has reprogrammed all school swimming lessons at other pools in Reading for the period of the closure.

All other sports facilities at Academy Sport, including the gym, exercise classes, sports hall and 3G football pitches, will continue to operate throughout the four-month closure of the swimming pool.

Councillor Sarah Hacker, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said:

“There is never an ideal time to close a pool, particularly for this length of time, but I hope regular users of the facilities will appreciate that these are major improvement works, which make a complete closure unavoidable.

“Much of the fabric of the pool at Academy Sport has been in place since it opened in 1983 and now needs complete replacement. Officers are taking the opportunity to carry out a number of improvement works at the same time to avoid future inconvenience. We expect the pool to be open again early in the New Year when swimmers can look forward to a much more pleasant swimming environment and more reliable facilities.

“These works at Academy Sport form part of the Council’s major investment programme to modernise pools and leisure facilities across Reading. We are investing in existing facilities and also building two modern new swimming pools – one at Palmer Park to replace Arthur Hill, and one on land at Rivermead, which will be the long-term replacement for Central Pool. This Council investment means future operating costs will be significantly cheaper, which also means a saving for the Council and the council tax payer in the long-term.”

More information on swimming programmes across Reading Sport and Leisure pools can be found at

Oscar Mortali

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