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Major construction work starts at aquatics venue for Birmingham 2022

Major construction work is now underway on the Sandwell Aquatics Centre – the state-of the art venue being built to host swimming and diving at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The aquatics centre, located in Londonderry Lane, Smethwick, is the only brand new venue for the Games, which will be staged from 27 July to 7 August in 2022.

Post-Games it will become an important leisure facility for local people to use and enjoy for years to come.

Ian Reid, Chief Executive Officer for Birmingham 2022 said: “We are delighted that major construction has now started at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

“This is a hugely exciting moment for us as organisers of the Games, as this fabulous centre is going to be one of the jewels in the Birmingham 2022 crown, especially as it’s the only brand-new competition venue being built ahead of the Games.

“It’s great to see how much progress has already been made on site and I’m looking forward to receiving regular updates over the next two years.”

The facility will include a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as a 25m diving pool, community swimming pool and permanent seating for 1,000 people, with additional seating being brought in for the Games.

Additional facilities will include a dry dive area, activity studios, sports halls, a fitness suite, while there will also be a football pitch and an urban park on the site too.

Also attending an event to mark the start of construction was Swim England’s diving development officer, Sarah Barrow, who won a silver medal for Team England at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She said: “The Sandwell Aquatics Centre is going to be fantastic!

“Not only will it be an excellent venue for all of the swimmers and divers taking part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games but it’s also going to be massively beneficial for local people to have such an impressive facility on their doorstep.

Sandwell Aquatics Centre Timeline

  • April 2019 – Planning permission was granted
  • June 2019 – Preparatory work on the site started
  • September 2019 – Ground-breaking on the site
  • November 2019 – Funding and contract agreement
  • February 2020 – Start of major construction
  • Spring 2022 – Games time facility complete
  • Summer 2022  – Swimming and diving for Birmingham 2022
  • May 2023 – Final handover to Sandwell Council and building open for public use

“For diving in particular, it is going to be hugely important for young people in the region to have access to this centre and I’ll be looking to maximise the opportunity of having a purpose-built, state-of-the-art diving facility, to ensure that we develop the diving programme across the region.”

The project is being overseen by Sandwell Council and the authority’s leader, Cllr Yvonne Davies, said: “We are very excited that work has started on the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick.

“We are really looking forward to hosting the swimming and diving events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Being part of the Games has meant we have been able to build an even bigger and better facility which will be a magnet for swimming excellence across the region and we hope future Commonwealth swimmers will be trained at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

“Work is on track and we will see the centre start to take shape in the coming months. We are working closely with Birmingham 2022 and our partners to ensure we deliver a world-class facility which will shine an international spotlight on Sandwell and the region.”

The £73 million project is being funded by several partners.

Sandwell Council is contributing £27 million to the cost of the project with £38.5 million coming from the overall Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games budget. A further £7.6 million is funded by other external partners Sport England, Black Country LEP, Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) and University of Wolverhampton.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “2022 will be a great year of celebration and the new aquatics centre will put Sandwell right at the heart of the Commonwealth Games.

“We’re investing £600 million in the Games to deliver the biggest event the West Midlands has ever seen and leave a lasting legacy, in this case by converting the world class facilities being built here into a state-of-the-art leisure centre for local people.”

Work on the facility is expected to be completed in spring 2022, when it will be handed over to Birmingham 2022.

After the Games, further work will be done on the site, before it opens its doors to the public in 2023, when it will be operated by the Sandwell Leisure Trust.

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