Olympic tips for new school sports centre

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A former Olympian is advising Ashlyns School on how to enlarge its sporting facilities to cope with the extra children it will have to accept from September.

It will go from being an upper to a secondary school from then, as Berkhamsted switches from offering three- to two-tier education.

Ashlyns will have to cater for 400 extra children in Years 7 and 8 as well those already there in Years 9 to 13.

The school has recruited mum-of-two Louise Collins, 45, of Upper Hall Park, Berkhamsted, a 200m sprinter in the 1988 Seoul Games, to help with the project. She will get tips from other ex-Olympians on improving sports facilities at the school.

She pointed to a Watford school which has a £2.5m sports hall with eight badminton courts, two basketball courts, three cricket nets, physiotherapy rooms and more. She said: “It is going to take financial support from sports organisations and businesses above and beyond what the education authority will be able to provide. But that’s our aspiration – to get something as fantastic as that.”

The indoor facility could be installed by September 2014, she said, and sports clubs could use it outside school hours.

There is a plan to improve Tring School’s sports centre, too, as it is more than three decades old. It is managed by Sportspace and open to the public out of school hours.

Sportspace says significant investment is needed to modernise the centre’s facilities, and it is exploring what needs to be done and how to fund it.