Alexander Stadium

Alexander Stadium is an international athletics stadium located within Perry Park in Perry Barr, Birmingham, England, at grid reference SP065925. It has staged the Amateur Athletics Association Championships, and was the venue of the 1998 Disability World Athletics Championships. It hosted one England Monarchs game in 1998 with an attendance of 8,000. It frequently hosts the English Schools' Athletics Championships, alternating every few years with Gateshead. 2019 will be the last year the ESAA Championships will be held there due to its demolition and rebuild for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.[1] It hosts the annual British Grand Prix and will be the main athletics venue of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Alexander Stadium
Alexander Stadium.jpg
Alexander Stadium
LocationPerry Park, Perry Barr, Birmingham, England
Coordinates52°31′49″N 1°54′20″W / 52.53033°N 1.90561°W / 52.53033; -1.90561Coordinates: 52°31′49″N 1°54′20″W / 52.53033°N 1.90561°W / 52.53033; -1.90561
OperatorBirmingham City Council
Capacity12,700
Planned to expand to 40,000 for the Commonwealth Games
Construction
Broke ground1975
Opened1976 (1976)
Expanded2011, 2019–2022
Tenants
Birchfield Harriers
England Monarchs (NFL Europe) (1998)
Birmingham City University
Website
www.birmingham.gov.uk/alexander

The construction of the stadium began in 1975 and it opened in 1976. It is the home of Birchfield Harriers, one of the best known athletics clubs in the United Kingdom, replacing their former home at Alexander Sports Ground.[2]

StructureEdit

It has an eight-lane synthetic surface track with a ten lane straight. Before redevelopment, there were 7,000 covered seats in three separate stands called Main, Knowles (after Dick Knowles) and Nelson (after Doris Nelson Neal OBE), and a 5,000 seater stand on the rear straight.

Event type Capacity
Sporting events 12,700 (seated)
Live music events Approx 20,000

Music eventEdit

The stadium has held many music events, including a one-day festival called Party in the Park run by BRMB (now Free Radio Birmingham) radio that featured acts like Nelly Furtado, Westlife, Natasha Bedingfield, Blue, Sugababes, Girls Aloud and The Calling. The event was later moved to Cannon Hill Park where it was in a more central part of the city and so made it easier for people from south Birmingham to attend. This event, however, was later cancelled although it returned in 2010.

Attempted murder caseEdit

On 22 March 2016 fell-runner Lauren Jeska attacked UK Athletics official Ralph Knibbs at the stadium, stabbing him multiple times. Jeska had feared her records in women's events would be quashed due to transphobia. She later plead guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.[3][4]

ExpansionEdit

2011Edit

In 2011 Alexander Stadium underwent a £12.5 million expansion and refurbishment, including the building of a 5,000 seater stand opposite the current main stand. This took the capacity to 12,700.[5] The new stand has also become home to the offices of UK Athletics.[6] The stand was completed in June 2011, in time to host the Diamond League British Grand Prix in July 2011.[7]

2017–presentEdit

In June 2017, during the preparation of the Birmingham bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Birmingham bid committee proposed to renovate the Alexander Stadium and use it for hosting the athletics and ceremonies of the Games.[8] In August 2017, former UK Athletics (UKA) Chief Ed Warner proposed the London Stadium in London to host the athletic events to save money, while Birmingham and West Midlands to host the rest of the sporting events of the Games.[9]

On 11 April 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that £70 million (approx. USD $90 million) of investment will be earmarked to transform the Alexander Stadium into a world-class athletics venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, during which it will seat 40,000 spectators.[10] In October 2018, British engineering and designing firm Arup was chosen by the Birmingham City Council to redesign the stadium.[11] British construction firm Mace was chosen to manage the stadium renovation project.[12]

In February 2019, Councillor Paul Tilsley claimed that the refurbished Alexander Stadium would become a white elephant after the Games as no long-term tenant for the stadium was identified. He was also concerned about the funding arrangement of the Games and claimed that spending funds in organizing the Games could put the council into very heavy debt.[13][14] On 21 June 2019, the Birmingham City Council released the images and plans for renovating the Alexander Stadium and claimed that it would create a legacy asset for the Perry Barr area. The council claimed that the stadium could continue to be the permanent home for the UKA and host major athletics events such as the Diamond League meeting which is currently held at the London Stadium.[15] But former UKA chief Ed Warner claimed that moving the main athletic events from London to Birmingham would be unattractive for the UKA both financially and in terms of the sport's profile. A UKA spokesperson also told the Press Association Sport that the UKA had no plans to take athletics events out of London Stadium.[16]

On 30 January 2020, the Birmingham City Council's planning committee approved the renovation plans of the Alexander Stadium which would cost £72 million. After the games, the temporary stands around the track bends will be removed, leaving the two permanent stands seating 18,000.[17][18][19] In March 2020, the Birmingham City Council chose the Northern Irish firm McLaughlin & Harvey to redevelop the stadium.[20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "English schools 2019". ESAA.
  2. ^ Alexander, William O; Morgan, Wilfred (1988). The History of Birchfield Harriers 1877–1988. Birchfield Harriers. ISBN 0-9514082-0-8.
  3. ^ Lauren Jeska jailed for Alexander Stadium stabbings - BBC News
  4. ^ Fell-runner Lauren Jeska tried to kill British athletics official because she feared the body would revoke her titles over transgender status
  5. ^ "Alexander Stadium's bid to be UK Athletics base". BBC. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  6. ^ "UK Athletics heading for a grandstand view of the Alexander Stadium". Inside the Games. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Top athletes set for Birmingham Grand Prix Meeting". BBC. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Stadium expansion at heart of 2022 bid". BBC News. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Commonwealth Games 2022: Liverpool & Birmingham should use London Stadium - Ed Warner". BBC Sport. 13 August 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  10. ^ "PM announces £70 million to transform Birmingham stadium for 2022 Commonwealth Games". GOV.UK. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  11. ^ Marshall2018-10-25T09:39:00+01:00, Jordan. "Arup wins design contract for £70m revamp of Commonwealth Games stadium". Building. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Mace to project manage Birmingham Commonwealth Games stadium". Infrastructure Intelligence. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  13. ^ Dare, Tom (18 February 2019). "Alexander Stadium will be £75m white elephant, claim". birminghammail. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Alexander Stadium will be £75m white elephant, claim". Genesis Radio Birmingham. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Birmingham targets taking athletics off London as £70 million Alexander Stadium redevelopment plan for 2022 Commonwealth Games unveiled". www.insidethegames.biz. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Warner's "white elephant" warning about redeveloped Alexander Stadium". York Press. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Alexander Stadium revamp gets green light". AW. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Commonwealth Games stadium revamp approved". BBC News. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Birmingham approves proposals for Alexander Stadium redevelopment". Verdict Designbuild. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  20. ^ Rogers2020-03-13T06:00:00+00:00, Dave. "Winner emerges on 2022 Commonwealth Games stadium". Building. Retrieved 21 March 2020.

External linksEdit