Almost three years of work to redevelop Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium has reached its most significant milestone yet.
The venue has been handed over by the city council to Birmingham 2022 for this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
The council has overseen the £72 million project to revamp the stadium ahead of the biggest event in the city’s history.
Despite planning permission being obtained just before the wettest February in history (February 2020) and the work being delivered during the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, the scheme has remained on budget and schedule.
After the handover, Birmingham 2022 has now taken up tenancy and will finalise the temporary Games-time enhancements that will turn it into a 30,000-seat venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as all of the athletics and Para athletics competition.
Post-Games, the temporary overlay will be removed, leaving a legacy facility with just under 18,000 seats, acting as a focal point for sport, health, wellbeing and community activity in Perry Barr and the wider area of north west Birmingham, with a strong claim for the modernised facility to once again be declared the home of British athletics.
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
The new-look Alexander Stadium is absolutely stunning and it's testament to the vision and hard work of everyone involved in this project that it has already been hailed as the best athletics stadium in the country.
Birmingham has a venue to be truly proud of and we look forward to welcoming athletes, coaches and spectators for what I am confident will be an unforgettable Commonwealth Games.
Dominic Olliff, director of venues for Birmingham 2022, said:
The newly redeveloped Alexander Stadium looks fantastic. We are delighted to take up tenancy for the next few months, as we make the final preparations for and then deliver the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
As it will host the track and field programme, and our Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Stadium is a hugely important venue for the Games, and it has been a joy to witness its incredible transformation over the last couple of years.
As well as funding for the Stadium, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has also supported Birmingham 2022 with the development of new transport infrastructure, skills training to support local people into jobs with the Games and, through Transport for West Midlands, is coordinating road, rail, bus and tram networks to ensure the region keeps moving during this summer’s event.
The Alexander Stadium will stage the Opening Ceremony for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on the 28 July and the closing Ceremony on the 8 August. The athletics and Para athletics programme will be held in the stadium from 2 to 7 August.
PSAM editor John Sheehan caught up with Yves De Cocker, Managing Director of PitchTecConcept, who explains how his company bridges the gap between sports organisations and the technology used in the playing surface industry.
The interview covers:
Yves 20+ years industry leading experience in the evolution of hybrid grass, trends he has noticed and some of the notable projects he has been involved with
The key reasons for Yves launching PitchTecConcept
Common mistakes often made with playing surface management
The steps he offers as a bridge between the industry and the end user
Advice to clubs looking to maximise their event calendars without compromising on the performance of their playing surface