Birmingham City Council will be building its first bespoke gymnastics facility in its Perry Barr Constituency. The GMAC, Gymnastics and Martial Arts Centre, will be a dedicated dual sports specialist facility covering Aikido, Ju-Jitsu, Karate and Wrestling under the Martial Arts banner and Gymnastics. The realisation of this facility started back in 2002 when it was declared that the Birmingham Sports Centre, which houses a multitude of sports, was surplus to requirement. This in turn meant that the centre and all other buildings on site would be put up for sale and new homes found. Much of the activities previously undertaken at the Birmingham Sports Centre are to be transferred Joseph Chamberlain College. However, It was agreed that for two of the most successful sports based at the Birmingham centre that brand new facilities would be built; this was by way of using a percentage of the land sale price to do so.
Sod Cutting Ceremony
Official work began in May 2007, ahead of the June schedule, on the construction of the GMAC. The occasion was marked by a ceremonial first spade dig (sod cutting ceremony). A photo shoot also took place and included one of the CBGC up and coming junior gymnasts, Louisa Maher and 5th Dan Aikido Sensei Jane Fellows representing Martial Arts. Also in attendance: Councillor. Ray Hassell; Jane Edwards, British Gymnastics Representative; Steve Salt, Constituency Leisure Manger for Perry Barr; Phil Barrow, Gymnastics Development Officer and a host of representatives from Thomas Vales, the official contractors.
The total budget allocated for the build is £7.03m which will be going towards the impressive pitted 16,750 sq ft of gymnastics working area along with its 450 retractable spectator seating area. The specification size was increased from its original in order to meet International training standards. Discussions are already underway for the centre to be used as one of the 2012 pre-Olympic training venues. The facility will become the home of the City of Birmingham Gymnastics Club and as well as the migration of the current recreation and competitive programmes there will be new programmes developed for schools in that area through the ongoing work with the two local Sports Colleges ( Hamstead Hall School and Kingsbury School ).