Ministers release £366m to rescue athletes village and media centre

The credit crunch has forced ministers to release another £366m chunk of the Olympic Games contingency fund to resuscitate the stalled athletes’ village and media centre projects, reports Building.

The Olympic Delivery Authority said it would need £231m from the £2.2bn contingency to bankroll the £850m athletes’ village after developer Lend Lease was hit by funding difficulties brought on by the failing economy. That comes on top of the £95m already signed off to kick-start work.

The media centre will get £135m of contingency cash due to a lack of private sector funding, making the £355m venue 100% public-funded.

In more positive news, British architects are preparing to bid for one of the final design packages for sports venues at the 2012 Olympics, including the water polo centre.

The Olympic Delivery Authority has issued an Ojeu notice asking for at least five firms to form a framework to design a series of temporary venues. It has also expressed a preference for architects with no previous Olympic experience.

Make, David Morley Architects and Wilkinson Eyre all told Building Design that they were keen to bid, while Olympic stadium and velodrome designers HOK Sport and Hopkins said they should not be ruled out of proceedings.

Grabbing a significant slice of the Olympic pie, and with it probably the largest temporary build programme the world has ever seen, Atkins has been appointed as the Games’ engineering design services provider.

The contract will include work on about 100 temporary structures including sports venues for basketball and canoeing, training facilities and buildings for support services like drug testing and logistical functions.

These will be spread across locations at Horse Guards Parade, Greenwich Park and Hyde Park, St James' Park in Newcastle, Hampden Park in Glasgow, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and some venues inside the East London park, reports Construction News. Atkins will provide advice on building services design, civil and structural engineering, acoustics, fire and accessibility.

‘It’s like a schoolboy’s dream!’ said Mike McNicholas, project director at Atkins told Building. ‘It’s like being given a giant Meccano set.’