AN ART project has encouraged people to take a fresh look at one of Huddersfield’s most familiar buildings.
Community artists took up residence for a day at Huddersfield Sports Centre, which could be demolished under plans put forward by Kirklees Council.
The council has approved the idea of knocking down the sports centre and building a new £26m one elsewhere in the town.
The council Cabinet is set to decide this month whether the new sports centre will be built on the preferred site at Spring Grove car park in Springwood.
A new Tesco store with 200 parking spaces would be put on the old sports centre site and the Ibbotson and Lonsbrough flats would be demolished to make way for the development.
The old Tesco site on Viaduct Street would be used to for offices and shops.
Planning permission for the new store and sports centre has yet to be granted.
If it is given the new sports centre should be ready for 2011. The present one would stay open until the development is complete.
Work would then start on the supermarket, which would be completed by 2014.
Members of art collective Face News: Creative visited the sports centre to chat to staff and users about their thoughts and memories about the building, which is run by Kirklees Active Leisure.
The four members – Dave Cowan, Emily Castle Cowan, Carlos Flowerday and Jenny Parkin – also transformed one of the pillars in the sports hall waiting area in a bid to make users take notice of their surroundings.
The pillar was repainted in traditional colours found on totem poles because the artists wanted to emphasise the waiting area’s role as a rallying point for teams and groups.
Jenny, of Slaithwaite, a part-time student at Leeds College of Art, said they were keen to celebrate the sports centre as it entered its final few years before redevelopment.
She said: “It’s been such an important part of the social history of the town and it still is.
“Thousands of people use it and never really think about what it means to them. We wanted people to look again. The things they told us were very affectionate.”
Dave, a freelance photographer who takes pictures for the Examiner’s Fresh supplement, said: “We could have chosen any number of parts of the centre to change, but we especially liked this bit.
“We met lots of interesting people as we painted and many were impressed and said it looked great.”
The collective made a film of the painting session and are planning to put together an exhibition about the sports centre. They also hope to carry out further art events there.