Wasps Rugby has officially opened the doors of its new state-of-the-art Elite Performance and Innovation Centre – which gives the club one of the finest training complexes in English rugby.
The multi-million-pound centre at Henley-in-Arden will be the new home of Wasps’ men’s first team and academy after they chose the location thanks to help from Bromwich Hardy founding partner Richard Hardy.
Richard, acting on behalf of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) negotiated the sale of the 13-acre site to Wasps last year.
It has taken six months to build the facility at a cost of £4 million, with the construction project completed by Warwickshire-based development partner Wigley Building & Development.
Staff and players have now started to use the facility as they prepare for the start of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season on Saturday 25 September against Bristol Bears at Coventry Building Society Arena.
The Elite Performance and Innovation Centre will be Wasps’ first permanent training ground of its own since leaving Sudbury in 1999.
It features a grass pitch which is identical in size to the pitch at the club’s home ground Coventry Building Society Arena. A 3G plus surface has also been installed next to the grass pitch to allow for training in all weather conditions.
Work has included the creation of a purpose-built gym – kitted out by Nuneaton specialist Indigo Fitness – and the construction of a media centre, medical complex and offices for coaching and administration staff.
For player recovery there are two large hydrotherapy pools and a sauna – as directly requested by England and Wasps star Jack Willis, named in his honour!
To make the facility as eco-friendly as possible low energy LED lighting has been installed on the sport pitches and car parks, and Wasps has introduced significant waste recycling measures, including for the cut grass.
Wasps has also worked with ecologists and arborists to create a wildlife catchment area in a pond on the site, with the pool also providing a water run-off for the two rugby pitches nearby.
The Elite Performance and Innovation Centre sees Wasps lay down further roots in Coventry and Warwickshire and signals a move to strengthen the club’s position in the region.
As part of a commitment to the local community, the Wasps Community Foundation will also be working to develop grassroots sport in Henley-in-Arden.
Stephen Vaughan, Wasps Group chief executive, said: “The new training centre provides the perfect professional environment to support the development of elite athletes and is without doubt one of the finest training complexes in the sport.
“This has been a significant investment and signals an exciting new era for the club. It is an investment that not only supports the Wasps players of today but will be essential to the growth of the players of tomorrow in our academy.
“It’s important for us that we have a positive impact in the communities we work in and we will be rolling out an extensive programme to support grassroots sport in Henley-in-Arden and the surrounding areas in the coming months.”
Lee Blackett, Wasps Men’s head coach, said: “The new performance centre is a real boost for the club, it is great to have our own permanent home.
“The facility is amazing and provides us with one of the best training environments in the Premiership. These are exciting times for everybody connected to Wasps.”