The centre is scheduled to reopen in 2010, subject to planning permission. The name of the chosen contractor will be announced after the standard call-in period.
The planning application for the refurbishment will be discussed by the Council’s development control committee today. Members will make a recommendation to English Heritage, which makes final decisions on planning applications for listed buildings. Their decision is expected by April.
Cllr Flick Rea, Executive Member for Culture, said: “We’re at an exciting point in this challenging project. Subject to planning approval, it will soon be full steam ahead to provide the best centre we can for local people while still preserving its heritage.”
The multi-million pound refurbishment will retain each of the three swimming pools and include a new entrance, a larger health and fitness suite, and two dance studios on a new floor above the Grafton pool. The building will also be more eco-friendly and cheaper to run by using two existing bore-holes to supply water to the pools and using natural ventilation.