Wates appointed as main contractor for Sandwell Aquatics Centre

Wates Construction has been confirmed as the main contractor for the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Smethwick.

The state-of-the-art facility will create a lasting legacy for community health and wellbeing with its 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool as well as a 25m diving pool, community swimming pool and seats for up to 1,000 spectators.

Wates has also made a commitment to local spend and job creation, including supporting its supply chain in taking on apprentices and helping them transfer into permanent positions upon completion.

The company will also engage with local schools to deliver work experience placements on site, encouraging diverse demographics into an industry combating growing skills shortages. John Carlin, Regional Managing Director for Wates Construction Midlands, said it was an honour to be part of this exciting regeneration story:

“Here in the West Midlands we’re currently experiencing a tremendous renaissance in our local infrastructure. This project – and the wider regeneration of the borough of Sandwell – will create a lasting legacy for local residents and put Sandwell on the map for its world-class facility. 

“Every project we deliver has the community at its heart and we’re looking forward to working alongside our partners to ensure this project provides significant economic and social value from the outset. The result will be a landmark facility that will be transformational for this borough.

“We’re pleased to sign the formal contract confirming our position as main contractor and now have two years of a challenging but hugely exciting build ahead of us.” 

Ground breaking took place in September 2019 to prepare the site for construction and the initial building work on the £73m project is set to complete in spring 2022 with final handover to Sandwell Council in May 2023 when the building will be open to the public.  

Other facilities at the Aquatics Centre will include three activity studios, two 4-court sports halls, a 108-station fitness suite with a 25-station ladies-only gym, dry diving facilities, an indoor cycling studio, a new football pitch, a café, and changing facilities including a sauna/steam room. Externally, a new urban park will feature a children’s play area. Councillor Maria Crompton, cabinet member for Sandwell Council with a responsibility for leisure, added:

“We’re excited that the main building work on this landmark leisure centre has started.

“The aquatics centre will give us an international-standard venue for the local community, replacing ageing leisure facilities with a modern hub designed to promote health and wellbeing across the district.”

Wates, which was appointed via Major Works - UK, part of the Scape National Construction framework, is based just four miles away in Quinton and is already using its role on the project to provide significant economic and social benefits to Sandwell’s businesses and residents. 

The contractor is also currently completing delivery of a £32.8m leisure centre in Braywick, Berkshire, including a 10-lane swimming pool, splash pools and an eco-friendly approach that will see the centre use 70% less energy than its predecessor.


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