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Olympic contract up for grabs

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is set to release the tender for the design contract for the Eton Manor training quarter in east London.

The AJ can reveal that an OJEU notice for the design of an area described by an ODA spokesman as a 'little triangle

at the top of the Olympic Park site', will be out within days.

Along with the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatics Centre, the Velo Park and the Handball Arena, the Eton Manor tender is one of only five packages that will boast permanent structures which will have a life beyond the 2012 London Games.

Described by the ODA as a 'significant design contract', the tender document will call for architects and designers to pitch for the chance to design a number of venues and facilities that will be used over three distinct phases.

'The first phase is an athletes' training centre for use during the Games, with running tracks and swimming pools,' the ODA spokesperson explained.

'The second is the conversion for the Paralympics, tennis and archery events. The third phase is the legacy phase, which will see the provision of a multi-purpose sports centre,' the spokesperson added.

Eton Manor, which currently occupies the north-east corner of the Olympic Park site, is named after an old sports hall built on a 12ha site previously known as the 'Wilderness'.

It was started before the First World War as a boys' club by Eton College, and the site has a rich sporting heritage. Part of the running track used for the 1948 London Olympics was transferred there after the Games and was later buried beneath the site. The first athletics meeting in the UK after the Second World War was also held at Eton Manor.

In December 2006, the Eton Manor sports hall became the first structure to be demolished to make way for the 2012 Olympic Park.

With three of the five most prestigious design contracts already awarded - to HOK for the Olympic Stadium, Hopkins Architects for the Velo Park, and Zaha Hadid for the Aquatics Centre - competition to gain a role on the Handball Arena and the Eton Manor training quarter will be intense.

by Max Thompson

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