Contractor BAM Construction will start work on the 2.1ha site later this month with a planned opening early in 2019.
Once complete the existing 40-year-old Dover Leisure Centre on Townwall Street will be demolished.
At the heart of the centre would be an eight-lane 25m county-standard competition swimming pool with spectator seating for 250 people, as well as a learner pool with a moveable floor to allow for varying depths of water.
Other facilities proposed include a four court sports hall, two outdoor artificial five-a-side football pitches, a clip ‘n’ climb climbing wall, a 120-station health and fitness gym, two squash courts, three multi-activity studios, one spin studio, a sauna, steam room and cafe.
Externally there will be 3G artificial pitches for five-a-side football, and a minimum of 250 parking spaces.