The scheduled upgrade of the existing Alexander Stadium will see further construction work take place over the next three months. Foundations for the new West Stand will be laid and the stadium revamp is scheduled for completion in April 2022.
Alexander Stadium is set to become the centrepiece of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the largest dedicated athletics facility in the UK. The stadium has been a focal point for local, national and international competition since it opened in 1976.
In the last four decades the stadium has only received one major upgrade when the Back Straight Stand was constructed in 2011. The next two years will see a huge transformation into a world class facility capable of hosting such as the Commonwealth Games as well as providing a home and facilities for local clubs like Birchfield Harriers.
But the improvements go beyond competition, with the stadium planned to include a new teaching base for Birmingham City University plus enhanced facilities for the local community.
Work started in 2020 as part of the wider regeneration of the Perry Bar area with Alexander Stadium central to plans for the area.
Key features of the planned upgrade include the replacement of the Nelson, Knowles and Main stands with a new West Stand, and a six-lane warm up track that will span 400m. The existing track will be upgraded to IAAF Category 1 standard, providing another track has nine lanes in times for the athletics competition in the Commonwealths.
Other planned improvements will make the stadium a sports and community hub for the residents of Perry Bar and north-west Birmingham.
The government has awarded the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Limited (GBSLEP) £433m to grow the local economy, with GBSLEP allocating £20m from the local growth fund to the Alexander Stadium project. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has also contributed £25m to the £75m scheme.
Stadia across the city
Alexander Stadium is just one of 13 spread across the West Midlands and focused on Birmingham. From Cannock Chase Forest to Coventry Stadium, the Commonwealth Games will be a festival of sport with additional pop up venues in the old Smithfield Market in Birmingham city centre. These bespoke temporary venues will host the 3?basketball and beach volleyball competitions.
After the games Smithfield will transform into a new cultural and leisure destination and a residential neighbourhood. Throughout the summer of 2022, its role will also be that of a Fanzone and focal point for Games-related events.
Edgbaston will host the 20/20 cricket while the NEC will be transformed into a multi-sport venue for badminton, boxing, weightlifting, netball and table tennis. The Lee Valley Velopark, host of amazing scenes when GB cyclists took eight golds at the 2012 Olympics, will be pressed into service for the cycling events.
Some 72 nations and territories will compete in Birmingham 2022. Critical to the success of the Games will be the quality of the venue, not least the newly refurbished Alexander Stadium which is set to be the centrepiece of the event.