Construction is now underway on the historic Eton Manor site, marking the start of work on all Olympic Park permanent venues, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) announced today.
Eton Manor is a key paralympic venue that will also deliver essential training facilities for athletes during the Olympic Games and first-class new sports and leisure facilities in legacy.
Initial ground work started in the spring and work is now underway on building the permanent sporting facilities, with the foundations due to be completed by the end of the summer.
ODA chairman John Armitt said: “The start of work on Eton Manor is a significant milestone, the start of construction on the last permanent venue on the Olympic Park.
“Eton Manor will play a key role throughout the games and leave behind a permanent facility which will benefit the local community for years to come.”
During the Olympic Games, Eton Manor will be an aquatics training venue, housing three Olympic-size temporary swimming pools, a temporary synchronised swimming pool and a temporary water polo pool. During the Paralympic Games, it will host the wheelchair tennis competitions with temporary seating for 10,500 spectators.
London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) chair Seb Coe said: “Eton Manor will be a first class facility for the Wheelchair Tennis event during the Paralympic Games, as well as the aquatics training pools during the Olympic Games. It will also leave the legacy of a multi-purpose sports centre for community usage afterwards. It is the first time in the history of Paralympic tennis that a centre has been purpose built for the wheelchair tennis event and it is very exciting to see construction start.”
After the Games, the permanent facilities will be transformed into a hockey centre with two competition pitches, a tennis centre with four indoor and six outdoor courts, and provision for five-a-side football pitches. The legacy facilities will be owned, funded and managed by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) and will create a wide of mix of sporting facilities for the local and regional community as well as elite athletes.
LVRPA chief executive Shaun Dawson said: “Following the Games, the Eton Manor site in the Olympic Park will deliver a legacy of sporting opportunities. The hockey centre will be of national standing, hosting international competitions alongside a comprehensive community sport development programme. Similarly, the tennis centre will provide a tennis development programme for all levels, targeted at local communities in the Lee Valley. The authority is working closely with the Tennis Foundation and national governing bodies to ensure this is aligned with national sports programmes.
“Along with the hockey and tennis centres, LVRPA will own and manage the VeloPark and Lee Valley White Water Centre. Each of these venues will create a wide range of sporting and recreational opportunities for everyone, school children to local clubs, elite athletes to complete beginners, from the local communities and the region.”
Eton Manor is steeped in sporting history and is on the former site of the Lee Valley Eastway Sports Centre which was closed in 2001. The site is also home to the Eton Manor memorial, a tribute to Eton Manor Club members who fought and died in the first and second world war, and the Churchill war memorial. The memorials will be safely stored off-site while construction takes place. They will be moved back to site to be a key feature of the legacy development, placed within a new public plaza and garden area in front of the new sports facilities. The ODA has been working closely with the Eton Manor Association to develop these plans.
By the end of 2010, the main sports building structure will be complete. By the end of 2011, the five pools and the temporary structure which will house them will begin to be installed. The site will be ready by spring 2012 in time for LOCOG to stage test events.