Sandwell Aquatics Centre opens its doors to the public on Monday 24 July having completed its planned transformation into a state-of-the-art community leisure centre for Sandwell and the wider region.
The only brand-new venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Smethwick-based centre will offer a huge range of sport and exercise facilities for everyone in the community.
Sandwell Council’s delivery partner, Wates, successfully bid for and won the contract to build the facility in 2018, and construction started in 2019. Work continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit and the facility was completed ready for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in summer 2022.
The final phase of transforming the venue from Games to legacy mode was completed this month (July) and the finished building was handed over to Sandwell Council on 13 July in readiness for opening to the public next week (Monday 24 July).
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said: “Sandwell Aquatics Centre was always designed as a community leisure facility first and tailored for use during the Commonwealth Games, rather than the other way around.
“The construction has helped create jobs for local people, local apprenticeships and work for local businesses, and delivering the centre has been a catalyst for significant investment in infrastructure projects in Sandwell.
“The centre – the best leisure facility in the UK at the current time – will be fantastic for Sandwell people as well as the region’s talented swimmers and divers. They will benefit from having a world-class facility on their doorstep for decades to come.
The new facility will be operated by Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) which runs a number of the council’s other leisure centres in Sandwell.
The Aquatics Centre includes a 50-metre Olympic-sized swimming pool (the only 10-lane swimming pool in the West Midlands), a 10-metre high dive tower and a 25-metre dive pool, along with 1,000 spectator seats.
In addition to this, the centre features:
- a smaller community swimming pool (20m x 10m);
- three 150sqm activity studios hosting more than 80 classes per week;
- two 4-court sports halls (690sqm each);
- 110-plus station fitness gym;
- 25-station ladies-only fitness gym;
- a 33-station indoor cycling studio;
- a changing village for up to 600
- a dry diving centre with mini floor trampolines;
- a sauna/steam room;
- changing facilities;
- car parking for over 420 vehicles.
Outside, there will be a new urban park and children’s play area as well as a new outdoor football pitch.
Sandwell Aquatics Centre hosted all the swimming, para swimming and diving events at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games from 29 July to 8 August.
The venue was one of the busiest at the Games with events on all 11 days of competitions. With 66 medal events in total held at the facility, it staged more medal moments than any other Birmingham 2022 venue.
As part of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Plan, which was agreed by Sandwell Council’s Cabinet on 12 July 2023, the council has developed a swimming programme to meet the needs of local residents, schools and swimming clubs, to make sure the local community benefits fully. Sandwell has three swimming clubs which have come together to form a new Sandwell Aquatics Club which will based at the centre.
Future plans will see the 10-metre high dive tower and all the diving boards fully used through a comprehensive diving programme, as well as developing a diving club for Sandwell and the surrounding areas.