Hertfordshire based Willmott Dixon has agreed a £19.5 million contract with St Albans City and District Council to redevelop Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre.

The company already has strong links with the city, with Group chief executive Rick Willmott and regional managing director Chris Tredget attending St Albans Building College in the 1980s. Also, Simon Ramage, who will lead the Westminster Lodge project team, and Willmott Dixon’s communications director Andrew Geldard both live in St Albans.

The project to replace the existing Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre starts on site in March and will be split into three phases. The first involves constructing a new car park, CCTV and lighting, while the second is the main build phase that will see the Willmott Dixon team create a 25m, eight lane swimming pool, training pool and wet side changing facilities.

Further facilities include health spa, cafe, climbing wall, fitness suite, dry change areas, a four court sports hall and dance studios. The current Westminster Lodge will remain fully open during building work, with the final phase seeing it demolished to create further car parking by November 2012.

The project sees Willmott Dixon team up again with S&P Architects, a collaboration that has seen the two organisations recently deliver Northolt Leisure Centre for Ealing Council and Corby-East Midlands International Pool.

Willmott Dixon managing director for the northern Homes Counties Chris Tredget says, “Given our strong links with St Albans, and the fact that our headquarters are in Hertfordshire, we are delighted to have the role of delivering the new Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre. It will be an exceptional facility right in the centre of St Albans and I am sure that as many of the project team live locally, they will also be avid users when it opens next year.”

Willmott Dixon is working with project manager Drivers Jonas Deloitte, M&E consultant Van Zyl & de Villiers and structural engineer Cundalls.

It’s the latest leisure project for the UK’s third largest privately owned contractor, which is heavily involved in creating a number of training facilities for next year’s Olympic Games, including at Surrey University, Corby and in Gateshead.