Major construction is set to begin on the Sandwell Aquatics Centre for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in the New Year, it has been announced, with final costings for the project now confirmed to be at £73 million ($94 million/€85 million) – £13 million ($17 million/€15 million) more than first estimated.
Councillors are set to sign off funding and contract agreements at a meeting next Wednesday (November 20).
But the bill for the development has increased from £60 million ($77 million/€70 million) when it was first proposed in January 2018.
According to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, work to prepare the site is already well advanced with the main building work set to start in January as planned.
The world-class facility at Londonderry Lane in Smethwick is scheduled to host the swimming and diving events at Birmingham 2022.
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, it is promised.
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council is contributing £27 million ($35 million/€32 million) with £38.5 million ($49.5 million/€45 million) coming from the Birmingham 2022 budget.
A further £7.6 million ($9.8 million/€8.9 million) is funded by other external partners in Sport England, Black Country LEP, Sandwell Leisure Trust and the University of Wolverhampton.
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council had already budgeted to build a new leisure centre for Smethwick and claims it 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.
"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," a statement reads.
"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."
When complete, the Sandwell Aquatics Centre will have a 50 metres 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.
In May, it was confirmed the contract to design and construct the Sandwell Aquatics Centre had been given to local firm Wates Construction.
The contractor and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council have been working together to develop the construction programme and design for the facility.
Plans for the Sandwell Aquatics Centre were approved by the Council’s Planning Committee in March and were ratified at a full Council meeting the following month.