Sandwell Aquatics Centre erection work pick up pace


Birmingham Aquatic Center Image: Birmingham2022

Major construction is underway in full swing at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, an avant-garde venue being built at Smethwick in UK to host the swimming and diving events for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Work on the facility is expected to be completed in Spring 2022, when it will be handed over to Birmingham 2022. Once the Games are over, further work will be done on the site, before it opens its doors to the public in 2023, and from then on, the Sandwell Leisure Trust will run the show for the centre.

The international multisport event for members of the Commonwealth – the 2022 Commonwealth Games – is scheduled to be held in Birmingham, England, between July 27, 2022, and August 7, 2022.

The Sandwell Aquatics Centre sits at Londonderry Lane in Smethwick and is the only span-new facility being constructed for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Post-Games, the centre will become an important leisure facility for the residents of Smethwick and the greater Sandwell area to use and spend quality time for years to come.

The CEO of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Ian Reid, commented on the development, “This is a hugely exciting moment for us as organizers 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.”

A thrilled Ian Reid added, “I am absolutely delighted we are here. Swimming and diving are one of our first events as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It is really, really exciting to see the progress over the last few months. It is much more important than building a venue for 11 days of a competition, the most important part of this venue is that it works for the community and will be used by the community in the long term.”

“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,” he further remarked.

The centre will boast a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool; 25m diving pool; a community swimming pool; 1,000 spectator seats, with additional seating arrangement during the Games; dry dive area (a pit full of sponges to dive in to); activity studios; sports hall; fitness suite; football pitch; and an urban park.

The reins of the project have been taken over by the Sandwell Council. Stated the council’s leader, Cllr Yvonne Davies, “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. Work is on track and we will see the centre start to take shape in the coming months.”

Yvonne further stated, “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.”

The tab for the GB£73m has been picked up by several partners including Sandwell Council, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games budget and smaller contributors, such as Sport England, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Sandwell Leisure Trust and the University of Wolverhampton.

A function was held recently in Sandwell to mark the beginning of this significant phase in construction. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, who graced the occasion, stated, “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 have 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 the local people.”

Oliver added, “It is hugely exciting – it is wonderful to see this project up and running. We are here, two years before the Games, I am confident it will be on time and on budget.”

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medal winner and Swim England’s Diving Development Officer, Sarah Barrow, who also was present in the event, noted, “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 the local people to have such an impressive facility on their doorstep. For diving in particular, it is going to be hugely important for young people in the region to have access to this centre.”

The new centre will bring a host of great benefits to Sandwell by generating local jobs and investment in the community through the businesses supplying goods and services for the build, as well as taking on apprentices.

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