Balfour Beatty sees off Sir Robert McAlpine to win contract for £20m pool near Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

Balfour Beatty has won a £20 million contract to build an Olympic-size swimming pool in Sunderland.

The firm confirmed yesterday that it has beaten off competition from Sir Robert McAlpine to land the job for Sunderland City Council. The 50-metre pool will be built at Stadium Park, near Sunderland football club's Stadium of Light. A leisure centre called the Wellness Centre will also be built at the site by Balfour Beatty.

The project which commences in early April is scheduled for completion in early 2008. It was designed by architects Redbox Design and Arup provided structural and services engineering. Balfour Beatty will also build a leisure centre at the site.

The scheme has been funded by Sunderland City Council, Sport England, European Regional Development Fund, One North East, Tyne Wear Partnership, Sunderland arc, and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.

It was originally valued at £12 million but design changes increased the cost, meaning the council had to reapply to sports minister Richard Caborn for more funding.