School children send a message to the future at new leisure centre site

Class photos, a chocolate bar and letters were among a variety of items buried in time capsules at the site of the Reading’s new flagship leisure centre at Rivermead, due to open in spring 2023.

At a ceremony on Thursday 26 May 2022, Children and staff from Oxford Road Community School in west Reading, alongside the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Rachel Eden; Reading’s Lead Councillor for Leisure, Adele Barnett-Ward and representatives from Reading Council, GLL and Pellikaan Construction Ltd, buried four time capsules on the construction site at Rivermead to reflect life at the present time.

Watch a video of the school visit here:

View more photos from the visit here.

The children from years 3 to 6 have all given mementos for the future residents of Reading to see a reflection of what life was like in 2022, including everyday or ‘on-this-day’ items, such as a copy of a local newspaper and a national newspaper, alongside:

  • Pictures of the future (what the children and the local area will look like)
  • Letters to people in the future
  • Quizzes and current likes and dislikes
  • Toys and a chocolate bar
  • A school jumper
  • Class photos
  • Local transport information
  • Information about living through Covid
  • Facts about prices in 2022
  • Eurovision and World Cup information

Nevaeh and Freddy, both year 6 pupils at Oxford Road Community School, said their class were very excited to take part in the time capsule project. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a very enjoyable memory to have,” said Nevaeh. “I think whoever opens the capsules will be interested and surprised to see what life was like now. I think the future will be much more hi-tech.”

“This is a cool memory for our final year,” said Freddy “We put information on the recent Eurovision content – we were happy to come second! And we also wrote about the Olympics last year and the World Cup this year.” The children said they thought it was important to tell future generations what it was like living through the Covid pandemic and were really looking forward to visiting the new leisure centre for a swim when it opens next year. 

A commemorative plaque will be added to the site of the time capsules, with a recommendation they are opened after 50 years - on or after May 2072.

Pellikaan’s construction team visited the school on Thursday 19 May to present at the children’s assembly and tell them about the process behind building a leisure centre.

The major work to construct Reading’s flagship new leisure centre at Rivermead continues to gather momentum, with the majority of the steel frame, flooring and roof of the building in place and the swimming pools taking shape.

The new leisure centre is part of the Council’s £40 million investment in modern leisure facilities for the town, including delivering brand new pools, a modern leisure centre and improvements to existing leisure facilities, by spring 2023.

When it opens, the new Rivermead facilities will include:

  • 25m 8 lane competition pool, with moveable pool floor
  • A combined teaching and diving pool with a moveable floor
  • 25m 5 lane club/swim lesson pool
  • Splash pad for younger users
  • A café, information hub, and soft play
  • A 6-court sports hall with 250 spectator seats
  • A 120-station gym with 3 studios
  • A new outside play area

The existing leisure centre will remain open until the new centre is complete to ensure no gap in people’s leisure service.

The work at this site is taking place in 2 phases, with the construction of the new leisure centre and the external public spaces completed before the demolition of the existing facility in Phase 2, which will make way for the remaining external areas, new sections of the car park and a new play area.

Work is also progressing well at Palmer Park, where in addition to the refurbishment of the existing stadium building, there will be a modern new 25 metre, 6-lane community pool, a 100-station gym with three studios, an activity zone for children with party rooms as well as a new café and information hub. The new community pool and facilities will open to the public in late 2022.

Improvements to the facilities at Meadway Leisure Centre started in April and will complete in June, with work already completed at South Reading Leisure Centre in February 2022.

For regular updates on the leisure project visit www.better.org.uk/new-reading-leisure  or follow the Council on social media @ReadingCouncil TwitterFacebook and Instagram or GLL at @Better_Reading