Redevelopment of Concord Sports Centre in September has started so it can become part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine in Sheffield.
Seven consulting rooms for outpatient clinics as well as education and training spaces are being added so that the centre can be used more widely to improve the health and wellbeing of local people and to demonstrate the importance of sport to healthy living.
The work is due to be completed early next year and to complement two other NCSEM sites in the city - Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre in Norton and a new swimming pool at High Green. Other national centres are being located in Loughborough and Londonas part of the legacy of the 2012 Olympics.
Sheffield International Venues, which runs Concord Sports Centre, already operates a GP referral scheme which helps 1,500 people every year with heart disease, respiratory conditions and muscle problems.
Dave Birds, who leads the scheme, took part in a sod-cutting ceremony to mark the start of the building work.
Steve Brailey, chief executive of the Sheffield City Trust, said the Shiregreen site was ‘at the heart of the community’ and had close links to local GP surgeries.
Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Changing the culture to make it easier for everyone to be active every day is a long journey but what we are developing here is a significant milestone.”