Open-access content Thursday 15th August 2013
With part of the Olympic Park now officially re-opened to the public, Jamie Harris looks at how London's Olympic venues are being adapted for their future functionality.
15 August 2013
The Copper Box
Olympic use: Handball, modern pentathlon fencing
Future use: Multi-sport arena, including basketball, badminton and boxing
Managed by: Greenwich Leisure (GLL)
The Copper Box was the first of the venues in the Olympic Park - now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - to reopen for business. It now houses a multi-sport arena (with a capacity of 7,500 spectators), a gym facility, fitness suites and studios.
"It is certainly different to other leisure centres and venues we manage," explains Tony Wallace, head of Olympic venues at GLL, which has the job of managing operations at the Copper Box and the Aquatics Centre.
"We have to manage the balance between community participation, events and elite sport," says Wallace.
The London Lions basketball team will use the venue as its home and, over the next year, the venue will also host six boxing fights, the London GP badminton tournament and European handball matches all bringing their own stewarding and clean-up challenges. The venue is also capable of hosting conferences, concerts and exhibitions.
Balfour Beatty Workplace has been chosen to manage the park estates and FM, and will provide soft services to the Copper Box.
Olympic use: Swimming, diving
Future use: Community swimming and diving, 2016 swimming championships
Managed by: Greenwich Leisure (GLL)
Also operated by Greenwich Leisure, the Aquatics Centre houses two 50-metre swimming pools (the only two in London, currently) and a 25x25m diving pool.
"We will be responsible for checking the water quality and providing life guards," says Wallace.
"All pools have a moveable floor, so they can be raised from five metres deep to just half a metre, and then used for children's swimming lessons."
As well as providing operational services, GLL is working with governing bodies British Swimming and Sport England, as well as the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to manage athlete training programmes.
The 2016 swimming championships are to be held at the venue, meeting the legacy challenge of making the venue suitable for both community and elite use. On busy days, GLL is expected to manage up to 3,500 spectators.
Olympic use: Velodrome - indoor track cycling, BMX
Future use: BMX, Track cycling, mountain bikes and a road cycle circuit for both community and elite use
Managed by: Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Opening in early 2014, the Lee Valley Velopark will offer facilities for four different cycling events - the only facility of its type in the world.
Brian Daley, assistant director, parkland and venues, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, explained that there was plenty to get to grips with during its redevelopment.
"The BMX track had to be modified from Olympic standard to community standard to make it open for public use.
"The mountain bike track was also recreated; this involved landscaping work for over 7km.
The unusual design of the velodrome - a building that has won several architectural awards - has posed a number of maintenance questions.
"We are discussing whether to sustain the wooden clad around the outside of the building, or to let it go grey," said Daley.
"Inspecting the roof every year is a challenge in itself. The building is also a cable- strong structure, which isn't something that we've had to deal with before."
Lee Valley has also had to bring in staff to maintain the more than £200,000 worth of bicycles that are available for hire.
Due to the nature of the indoor velodrome track, underfloor heating was required throughout the building's closure.
"We have spoken to those running velodromes in Glasgow and Manchester," said Daley. "It's all about sharing ideas."
The Queen Elizabeth Park
Olympic use: Site of the majority of London 2012 sporting arenas
Future use: A public park, fit for temporary attractions, festivals and concerts
Managed by: Balfour Beatty Workplace
Balfour Beatty Workplace secured a 10-year estates and facilities management contract that runs from 2013. It is responsible for maintenance of the Park and the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower. The company will work with other contractors to provide cleaning, security and operations services for the park, Aquatics Centre, Copper Box and VeloPark.
Landscape Group is to provide landscape maintenance and cleaning for the whole park until 2024, in alliance with Balfour Beatty Workplace.
The site is expected to attract over nine million visitors per year, while the press centre, situated inside the park and run by iCITY, is home to BT Sport studios, with room for other tenants within the 91,000 square metre building.
Olympic use: Athletics, opening and closing ceremoniesFuture use: Host venue for 2015 Rugby World Cup and 2017 World Athletics Championships; due to be home to West Ham United football club from 2016
The stadium is to be scaled back to a 60,000 seat capacity, with planning approved for the installation of a transparent roof that, when complete, will become the largest-spanning tensile roof in the world. E20 LLP is the organisation overseeing the stadium's development.