South Scotland

Dumfries leisure centre reopens after nearly five years

DG One
Image caption Repairs to the centre have cost more than the original construction

A leisure centre which had to close for repairs nearly five years ago has reopened after remedial work costing more than £20m.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said the revamped DG1 in Dumfries would be a "top-class facility" for the region.

The building - which cost about £17m to construct - first opened to the public in 2008 but problems quickly emerged.

They eventually forced its complete closure in October 2014 for the overhaul.

Image caption The centre shut nearly five years ago but has now reopened after major repairs

An inquiry into the scale and range of failings uncovered at the site described them as "unique".

The local authority recovered about £10m from the original contractors Keir but still faced a significant bill for the repairs.

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It prompted some calls to demolish the building but the council decided to complete the work.

Leader Elaine Murray admitted that the council had effectively ended up with "one leisure centre for the price of two".

However, she said she believed the benefits the facility could deliver meant it had been the right decision to carry on with the repairs programme.

"It is clearly more expensive than we would have wished," she said.

Image caption The revamped centre includes swimming pool, gym and other facilities

"But by the time we became aware of the extent to which there were problems with the building so much money had already been spent.

"That would just have been thrown away if we had not proceeded to make sure that the building was properly rebuilt and refurbished."

She said the structure been taken "back to its skin".

"This is pretty much basically a new building," she said.

"It has been a huge amount of work but we believe McLaughlin and Harvey have done a good job on it."

Image caption An inquiry described the failings at the centre as "unique"

The council leader added that an action plan had been put in place by the local authority to address all the points raised by the inquiry into the project.

The revamped premises include swimming pools, a gym area, an entertainment space and a wide range of other facilities.

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