Stadium to become school after games, further pressure on budget, biometric security plans delayed

The London Olympic stadium will become a sports-themed school after the 2012 games under plans due to be announced by the government next week, according to a report in Building magazine.

The Olympic Park Regeneration Steering Group, chaired by London mayor Boris Johnson, has been discussing the scheme, which is likely to see the 80,000-seat stadium transformed into a 25,000-seat athletics venue, with the area under the seating converted into a ‘studio school’ - a pilot government small school of about 300 14-19 year-olds designed to accommodate children who aren’t being catered for by traditional secondary schools, including ‘problem kids’.

The plan has not yet been confirmed by the London Development Agency, the body in the charge of the Olympic legacy, but an announcement on the park’s future is planned for next week.

An updated financial report from the Olympic Development Association and quoted in Building’s online service shows that the cost of Park venues has risen by £100m and could rise by a further £96m, the cost of the Olympic Stadium has jumped from a projected £496m in November 2007 to stand at £547m as of September 2008.

Last month the government was also forced to bail out the £1bn Athletes’ Village and the £355m media centre with cash reserved for ‘force majeure’, or events outside the ODA’s control, as private developers failed to get financial backing from banks.

Meanwhile, Contract Journal reports that hi-tech security systems designed to control entry onto the Olympic Park will not be in place until the summer at the earliest, even though thousands of construction workers are already on site.

Plans to introduce the latest face recognition and fingerprint technology controlling entry to the site are still out to tender, a situation that’s worrying Olympic observers. One told CJ: ‘I’m sure the plan was to have the hi-tech access control in place before the workforce grew to this size. There was a lot of talk about the latest technology, but at the moment it’s little more than checking a few documents and a gang of security guards patrolling the site.’