But future of temporary fencing venue remains unclear, MPs are told
The temporary basketball venue for the 2012 Olympics will definitely be going ahead, according to Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt.
Speaking at a select committee hearing on the Games, Armitt put an end to press speculation that the basketball venue, to be designed by Wilkinson Eyre, was to be scrapped in favour of using the O2 Arena.
He said: “The basketball is certainly going to be in a temporary venue, and we are in design discussions about it at the moment.”
However, a question mark remained over the future of the fencing events, which it is thought could be staged at the Excel centre in London’s Docklands, rather than at a purpose-built venue.
Armitt said fencing was “being looked at” while Lord Coe, also being questioned, would only say that “nothing has been finalised.”
Ten design teams have already been shortlisted to design the temporary fencing venue, with companies involved including Atkins, David Morley Architects, Mott McDonald, Adams Kara Taylor and Arup.
Armitt and Coe were questioned alongside ODA chief executive David Higgins and LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton by MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
Higgins was repeatedly questioned on how much contingency had been woven into the budget for each Olympic venue, but would not give detailed figures.
He said that Olympic Minister Tessa Jowell would make a statement to the House of Commons “within two weeks” and give MPs a breakdown of the £2.7bn contingency budget.
Armitt also told MPs that the cost of converting the Olympic stadium from an 80,000-seat Games venue to a 25,000-seat legacy venue would be approximately £25m. He said this cost was included in the quoted £496m price-tag for the stadium.
Speaking about the Media Centre, Armitt confirmed that two bidders remained in the race to build the 1.5m sq ft building. He also quashed rumours that one of the two wanted to convert the Centre into a supermarket distribution depot after the Games.