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Surf's up for Laing O'Rourke

CONTRACTS - SWANSEA

LAING O'Rourke is making a splash in Wales with a deal to create Britain's first indoor surfing centre.

The scheme is part of a complete overhaul of a leisure centre in Swansea, which was shut down by the then Labourled city council in 2003.

The new council, run by the Liberal Democrats, had promised to re-open it by Christmas next year although it is now expected to open by early 2008.

Laing O'Rourke beat HBG, Cowlin, Interserve and Mowlem to the £32 million scheme. Work will involve a mixture of refurbishment and new build.

A standing wave machine will be the focal point of the development, which will see the centre's pool being used for body-boarding and surfing. This will all be part of a new water park, featuring a network of indoor pools and a slow-running, river.

The rest of the centre will i nclude a climbing wall, aerobic studios and a gym.

Laing O'Rourke is now finalising details of the scheme, which is being let as a two-stage tender.

Work on the city centre site is due to start later this month.