Major construction will begin on the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in the new year, with councillors set to sign off funding and contract agreements at a meeting next week (20 November).
The world-class facility at Londonderry Lane in Smethwick will host the swimming and diving events at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
When complete, the centre will have a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool, a 25m diving pool and a studio pool along with 1,000 permanent spectator seats. Additional seating will be added on a temporary basis for the Games.
Final costings for the project have now been confirmed at £73m, up from an initial estimate of £60m, though Sandwell council say the final budget of the project reflects updated costs for groundworks, construction prices and contingencies built in by the council and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games budget.
The council say they had already budgeted to build a new leisure centre for Smethwick and can now provide a much bigger, improved facility at a similar cost to the authority – thanks to additional funding brought in by hosting the Commonwealth Games.
Sandwell Council is contributing £27m, with £38.5m coming from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games budget. A further £7.6m is funded by other external partners Sport England, Black Country LEP, Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) and University of Wolverhampton.
Work to prepare the site is already well advanced with the main building work set to start in January as planned.
The building will also be a state-of-the-art leisure facility for Sandwell residents for decades to come, together with a brand new urban park, football pitch and children’s play area.
The council also say the development of the aquatics centre will not only help inspire Sandwell residents to get active and live healthier lifestyles, it will also boost the local economy and bring job opportunities to the borough.