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Opening date revealed for Birmingham's new 50m swimming pool

University of Birmingham unveils long-delayed launch date of new £55m sports complex

The university's new sports complex and pool will open next month

The long-awaited opening of the city's only 50-metre swimming pool is set to happen next month - almost a year after first planned.

University of Birmingham has announced that its new £55 million 360 Sport & Fitness complex will be ready for use on May 22 - bringing to an end a succession of planned openings which had to be cancelled because the building was not ready.

The new sports venue will have Birmingham's only 50-metre pool, a sports arena capable of hosting 900 spectators, dance studios, gym and squash courts as well as the performance centre which specialises in sports science and medicine.

Vice-chancellor Sir David Eastwood said: "This is a landmark occasion for the university and the city.

"We are delighted to be opening the doors to a pioneering facility which will enhance Birmingham's existing world-class sporting infrastructure and contribute to the city's and region's ambitions to attract global events to Birmingham and the West Midlands."

The opening has been hit by a series of delays spanning almost a year with little explanation behind the problems.

In December, the university and its contractor Interserve was forced to announce its fourth postponement of the grand launch with neither willing to put forward another a predicted opening date.

The brand new facility, which sits at the main Bristol Road entrance to the university's campus in Edgbaston, will replace the existing Munrow Sports Centre near the University railway station and is open to the public as well as staff and students.

The pool, which has been filled with water since August, will join Coventry's as only the second 50-metre facility in the West Midlands and forms part of the wider regeneration of the campus.

Totalling around £300 million worth of investment, it features a new library, which opened in September, halls of residence, hotel and conference centre, sports pitches and science teaching rooms among other work.

Zena Wooldridge, the university's director of sport, added: "The stature of this new building reflects Birmingham's position as a leading global sporting university, both academically and across the range of sport and fitness opportunities for participants of all ages and aspirations.

"It's a magnificent building and our aim is to provide a fabulous sport and fitness experience, not just via the quality of the facility, but also the huge choice and quality of programmes and the expertise of our staff.

"The whole project is designed to enhance the quality of life of our community."

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