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Iconic £15m Worcester Arena nearing completion
10:30am Wednesday 30th January 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
THE new Worcester Arena has been described as an iconic venue and a legacy for the city for many years to come.
It is now only a matter of weeks before the £15million complex on Hylton Road is due to open to the public.
Work is set to be completed on Monday, March 11, and the University of Worcester will then take possession of the keys.
Several years in the planning, the 2,000-seater site will be home to the Worcester Wolves basketball team and is expected to stage their matches before the season finishes in April.
It will also be the main base for badminton in England as well as one of the leading venues for disability sport, including wheelchair basketball.
In addition, it could be used for top-level netball and will feature a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning suite for elite athletes.
Mick Donovan, head of the University of Worcester’s institute of sports and exercise science, has been a driving force behind the project and is thrilled at its potential.
He said: “It was 2009 when we first started talking about it and it was part of the vision for the future.
“When I spoke with the vice-chancellor David Green he shared the vision and has been very supportive.
“We had to work really hard to generate some money because we had to find some before we could move forward to make it happen.
“A lot of people have helped us to get here.
“It’s gone really quickly because we’ve always had tight deadlines with funding bids but now it’s getting close.
“The building is really exciting and if we didn’t have it we would never have a decent indoor space.
“We haven’t got a big indoor space for anything in this city, let alone for sport.
“It is iconic and it’s going to be a legacy for people of all different abilities. It’s big for disability sport and it’s going to be one of the best venues in the country for that.”
He added: “I walked down Hylton Road the other day and I stood outside and thought the fantastic thing is that we have created this and it’s going to be here for many years. Hundreds and thousands of people are going to benefit from it.
“It’s going to raise not just level of participation but levels of performance as well.”