Progress revealed at Sandwell Aquatics Centre ahead of Commonwealth Games

Work is on track for a multi-million pound aquatics centre which will host swimming and diving competitions for the Commonwealth Games.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games chief executive Ian Reid
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games chief executive Ian Reid

The £73 million facility, in Smethwick, will also become a leisure centre for public use once the games have ended to create a legacy for the region.

Games organisers say they are delighted with the good progress being made to get it ready by summer.

Among the key internal features to be completed so far are the diving pool and tower, the 50m swimming pool which will be used for the games along with a studio pool which will not be required for the competition, changing rooms, the fitness suite and reception areas.

Around 195,000 tiles were ordered and 85 per cent of it them have been fitted with work now being carried out to the walls in the main pool area and the changing areas.

Preparations are being made to start the process of filling the pools with 1.2 million gallons of water, which is equivalent to 9.6 million pints of beer, next month.

Meanwhile outside ground works have started for a temporary competition warm up pool which will be used by the athletes before they head indoors to the changing village and the diving and swimming events.

Games and council chiefs have take part in a tour of the premises to see the progress being made.

Construction is making progress at Sandwell Aquatics Centre

Chief executive of the Commonwealth Games organising committee, Ian Reid, said: "The centre is looking fantastic. We have been absolutely delighted with the progress made in the last 18 months despite the circumstances we have all been facing.

"The project is on time and on budget. Looking around today gives a sense of what it will be like for the games and more importantly what a great asset it will be for the community. Just imagine what it will be like for families bring children here.

"Sandwell Council and the contractors have done a fabulous job.

"This is going to be the host venue for diving and swimming which will be among the first events for the games. This is the only building being developed for the games which comes with risk, but standing here today we can see that the risk is significantly mitigated because of the great job everyone is doing."

The council's project direct for the centre Chris Jones said: "It is amazing to see the progress made. We are really happy with how the building is coming along. It is superb and we are very proud of the fact that Sandwell Council will be welcoming the world to our new centre in Smethwick."

Sarah Barrow - Swim England regional diving development officer

Retired Team GB diver Sarah Barrow, who competed in three Commonwealth Games, added: "I'm really excited and I know all the divers are buzzing about coming into a new pool

It is hoped the Commonwealth Games will attract more than £650m investment, create £7m of extra export deals up to 2027 and create 1,000 jobs – including 600 in the region.

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport and Tourism said: “Significant progress has been made at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre since I was privileged to lay the pool's first tile in June. This public investment will provide a first-class facility that will serve local people for generations to come, long after the Games.

"I look forward to seeing how the centre becomes not only a community hub for swimming, but gives Birmingham and the West Midlands world-class facilities and training opportunities to help nurture the next generation of diving champions.”

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