The company was appointed in August to develop plans to deliver the £10.8m project and work will start on the Entwisle Road site in November.
Plans for the centre include an eight-lane swimming pool as well as a sports hall, dance studios, gym and a 167 space car park.
Councillor David Clayton, Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure said: “In recent months we’ve heard of many local authorities having to take difficult decisions and close sports and leisure centres, but we feel it’s vital that we offer fantastic fitness facilities that will encourage people to get fit and stay fit.”
The new centre will be built just yards from Central Leisure on Entwisle Road, which will be demolished once the leisure centre is open.
Willmott Dixon’s managing director for the North West, Anthony Dillon, said: “We already have a big presence in Rochdale though our work on St Anne’s Academy in Middleton, and like that project, we will aim to ensure our work benefits local businesses as much as possible through the sub contractors we use.”
Rochdale’s Service Director for Regeneration, John Percival, said: “Within about one mile there’s a significant amount of regeneration work going on in the town centre.
“Within two years this area will be transformed and then demolition of buildings such as the Municipal Offices, the bus station and car park will begin to make way for the multi-million pound retail and leisure development.”