The University of Birmingham is set to be home to new state-of-the-art sports centre after Interserve was awarded the contract.

Work on the £55 million development is due to start in April 2014 and will form part of the university's Edgbaston central campus. It will include the Midlands city's first Olympic-size swimming pool and have an arena sports hall able to accommodate 900 spectators. Stretching over 13,200 sq m it will also have six squash courts, six activity rooms that will be used for sport and fitness classes as well as a 225 station gym.

The facility has been designed by architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and is hoped to attract more students to study sports science and other similar degrees in Birmingham. It also provides a top class leisure centre for students already studying at the 'red brick' university. Once completed it will complement the library, cultural hub and student accommodation in the Edgbaston central campus.

Zena Wooldridge, University of Birmingham’s director of sport, said: “This is a large and complex project, which is the culmination of many years of planning and design. We’re very excited that construction is now about to start.

“The new facilities, and opportunities they will house, will be a game-changer for the University, both in raising its profile as a leading UK sporting university, and in its provision for the local and regional community.”

Interserve had to fend off a number of rivals to secure the contract with reporting that Bam Construct, Galliford Try, Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and Willmott Dixon were all in the running to take on the project.

The company's managing director, Ian Renhard, noted his delight at landing the agreement explaining that it was a "very important project" for the university and Interserve and is looking forward to getting the development underway.

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