Centre re-vamp plans unveiled
THE LOCHABER community has had a first look at what the Nevis Centre will look like following a £1.6million transformation.
The 25-year- old building is to undergo a major facelift, with Fort William architects the Kearney Donald Partnership devising plans, including a new-look foyer, bar and two mezzanines, as well as extra toilets and a commercial kitchen.
Immediate roof repairs will be done to stop it leaking.
Speaking after a public event unveiling the plans last week, Sheana Fraser, Linnhe Leisure chairwoman, said: ‘We had a really good question-and-answer session with people.
‘Everyone was very positive about the plans. It was a real chance for us to get across that the Nevis Centre is a community resource and to highlight all the things that go on here and the value it adds to Fort William.’
It is hoped work on the centre will start early next year.
As revealed by the Lochaber Times earlier this month, Ms Fraser said they hope to make the entrance to the centre more welcoming.
‘We want to make the foyer more welcoming and more of a social space for people coming in. But the roof leaks so badly we can’t do anything inside until it is fixed and that’s going to cost us more than £ 350,000.
‘If the centre is refurbished we hope that would encourage more people to use it and develop into new markets.
‘There’s potential there that has not been fully developed.
‘That way we can bring in more income and make it more sustainable, because we need to make up the grant funding we have lost.’
Scott Donald, a partner at Kearney Donald in Fort William, added: ‘The community want us to be ambitious with our plans for the centre. The building needs to be more attractive and major investment in it has been needed for years. Our job as architects is to give our clients [ Linnhe Leisure] ideas they have not thought of for the space. We want to aim high.
‘Most people come to the centre for bowling and they do that at night. But the cafe shuts in the afternoon so we have plans to put in a commercial kitchen which will serve food for all areas of the centre. So many things would not be able to be held in Fort William if it wasn’t for the centre. It’s so important for the community.’
The farmhouse in North Ayrshire which won the RIAS award.