Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium will provide a base for up to a thousand local students after the venue has hosted the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it has been revealed.
Birmingham City University (BCU) has reached an agreement with Birmingham City Council to become an anchor tenant of the venue, which will undergo £72m (€79.4m/$87.1m) of redevelopment work in the lead-up to the Games.
The move will ensure the stadium remains an important part of the local sporting scene in the years following the Games.
The stadium will be fitted with state-of-the-art facilities for students and the work will complement broader plans to regenerate Perry Barr and north-west Birmingham, which will include the construction of up to 5,000 homes, around 2,000 of which will be delivered on the Commonwealth Games Village site. Equipment that will be available for students will include anti-gravity treadmills and environmental chambers.
The university space will be set over three storeys in a newly-developed Western Stand. The agreement will allow BCU to to expand its offering by providing space for up to 1,000 students.
BCU launched its sports and exercise courses in 2016, with studies including sports nutrition, physiotherapy and biomedical science. Hundreds of staff will now move to Alexander Stadium following the conclusion of the 2022 Games.
Professor Philip Plowden, vice-chancellor at BCU, said: “Alexander Stadium is an iconic part of Birmingham’s sporting offering, which will take centre stage in the coming years, and it will make a fitting home for our sporting staff and students. It is also very pleasing that we are maintaining our strong links with Perry Barr, which for so long was our main site.
“Birmingham City University is hugely excited about the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham and the opportunities which they will afford to residents, businesses and visitors including our staff and students. Working closely with the council in this way will help secure the legacy of the Games, and to ensure these opportunities will continue beyond 2022.”
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, added: “This exciting new partnership with Birmingham City University brings a new and meaningful purpose for the stadium. We need it to operate 365 days a year, rather than on limited number of occasions it currently does. This deal lays the foundations for further investment to make the revamped stadium the focal point for community, leisure, sport, health and well-being activity in a regenerated Perry Barr.”
Plans for the redevelopment of Alexander Stadium were revealed back in June. Designs for the stadium, which will serve as the main venue during Birmingham 2022, show an increase in capacity from 12,700 to 18,000, and the facility will accommodate up to 40,000 people during the event itself through temporary seating.
Image: Birmingham City Council