A significant milestone has been reached at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which is currently under construction in Smethwick, as the tiling of the main competition pool, which will be used for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, has now begun.
Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism, and Ian Reid, Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022, made their first visit to the site since February last year, to inspect the impressive progress and to help work experience students from Sandwell College, and representatives from Sandwell Council, lay the first tiles.
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport and Tourism said: “Fantastic progress has been made on the Sandwell Aquatics Centre since I was last here in February 2020. Not only will this amazing facility help put Sandwell on the map during Birmingham 2022, it will also become an outstanding new leisure centre for the community. It is a great example of how we are levelling up across the country, by investing money in new world-class facilities that leave a lasting legacy for local people.”
The Sandwell Aquatics Centre will host the swimming and Para Swimming competition at the Commonwealth Games from 29 July to 3 August and the diving competition from 4 August to 8 August, meaning that the centre will be in use for all 11 days of competition.
“more medals will be decided here than at any other venue”
Ian Reid, Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022 said: “It has been great to get back on site and the Sandwell Aquatics Centre is looking incredible. There has been so much progress in the last 12 months and the credit for that must go to Sandwell Council and its construction partner.
“You can now really get a sense of how the only new build venue for our event, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, will look during the Games. This a key competition site for Birmingham 2022, as more medals will be decided here than at any other Games venue.”
Students from Sandwell College are gaining work experience on the site and 19-year-old Kye Roseblade, who lives just a few miles from the aquatics centre and is studying for his level two Wall and Floor Tile Diploma, will be helping to lay the tiles in the pools.
Kye said: “It’s really exciting to work on the aquatics centre for the Commonwealth Games. We’ve got four weeks work experience laying tiles in the centre and I’m really enjoying working on such a big project.”
The 10m dive tower at the centre was completed earlier in the year and recent work has included the completion of the building facades. The roof is nearing completion and curtain walling and glazing is well advanced. Internally, high-level works within the pool hall have been ongoing, including pool hall lighting, fire alarm cabling and ventilation and heating duct work.
As well as being a key facility for the Commonwealth Games, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will also be one of the greatest legacies of Birmingham 2022, with the local community benefiting from having a brand-new, world-class facility on their doorstep.
The project is being overseen by Sandwell Council and its Leader, Councillor Rajbir Singh, said: “It was amazing seeing the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre and looking at the scale of the work being undertaken. The venue, which is located in Smethwick, is impressive and will not only serve as a host venue for the Games but will leave a lasting legacy for local residents and the wider region for generations to come.
“I am looking forward to seeing the venue completed and hosting the swimming and diving events for the Games in Smethwick.”
The total cost of the centre, which is on schedule and on budget, is £73 million. Sandwell Council is contributing £27 million with £38.5 million coming from the 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.