IT IS usually the topping out ceremonies that you hear about – but 2020 has been a strange year.

Winchester College has celebrated the ‘bottoming out’ of its new sports centre at Kingsgate Park off St Cross Road.

The ceremony, held on Tuesday November 10, marked the development reaching the lowest point of the dig for a swimming pool, the deepest part of which is 3.8 metres.

Headmaster Dr Tim Hands and Mark Burley, director of sport, were presented with a ceremonial spade by Mark Norris, regional operations director of construction company Kier.

Dr Hands said: “Today represents a milestone in the creation of the new Winchester College Sports Centre.

“Not only will it usher in a new era for sport at the school, but we hope it will quickly become a popular destination for local residents.”

The centre, due for completion in 2022, will provide pupils with a state-of-the-art indoor facility.

It will also be available to local community groups, hirers and members which is open to all.

Mark Norris said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone, it means we are one step closer to delivering Winchester College its new sports centre that will offer first-class facilities for pupils and the local community.

“We are working with our local supply chain partners to construct the sports centre and we will continue to work collaboratively with staff and pupils as well as the local community as we deliver this project.”

A temporary centre is operating from a structure on Kingsgate Park, providing a multi-use sports hall, a gym, offices and the school laundry.