Dollan Aqua Centre

(Dollan Baths)

A strikingly modernist leisure facility in the centre of East Kilbride (South Lanarkshire), the Dollan Aqua Centre lies within Town Centre Park, on the opposite side of Cornwall Street from the massive Town Centre complex. Known locally as the Dollan Baths, the centre opened in 1968 and included the first Olympic-size swimming pool in Scotland. The architect was Alexander Buchanan Campbell (1914 - 2007) and the flamboyant building comprises a large domed hall with monumental V-shaped concrete flying buttresses. It was in-part inspired by the sweeping Yoyogi National Gymnasium built for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo (Japan). The Dollan Aqua Centre was commissioned by the Town Council, at a cost of £600,000, to celebrate East Kilbride being granted the status of a burgh in 1963. It is regarded as one of the most architecturally-significant buildings in Scotland and is now A-listed.

The facility includes two pools; a smaller childrens' pool and the larger 50m pool. The larger pool was built to be 55 yards (50.3m) in length and also with a width in imperial dimensions. This gave problems meeting the Olympic specification. it was not until a refurbishment by the Newcastle-based architects Faulkner Browns in 1994, at a cost of £4.5m, that these problems were corrected. At the same time, diving boards were removed and flumes installed. The building was extended with a glass entrance hall, installed beneath the buttresses, along with a glass and steel canopy, both of which rather spoil the original architectural composition. A further refurbishment took place alongside structural repairs in 2009-11 at a cost of around £9 million. This work included the replacement of the pools and associated tile-work. The larger pool now has a floating floor. There is also a fitness gym, health suite, dance studio, with integral sound system and wood sprung floor, sauna and steam room, and a café.

Managed by South Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council, the Centre is named for Sir Patrick Dollan (1885 - 1963), former Lord Provost of Glasgow and first chairman of the East Kilbride Development Corporation. It was used for training events relating to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and hosted the swimming events for the 2011 International Children's Games.

The adjacent youth centre was also designed by Buchanan Campbell (1966-70).

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