Ground was broken this week on the 41 million AUD (42.7 million USD) upgrade to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport, Queensland in preparation for hosting duties both at the 2013 Pan Pac Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The first stage of the upgrade kicked off in a ceremony with Minister for the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate breaking ground on the 50 meter competition pool.
The construction schedule for the complex puts it at completion in mid 2014, in time for the Pan Pacific Championships that run from August 21st-25th.. Officials said the beginning of construction marked a “major milestone” for the Gold Coast as it prepares to host these events.
The Aquatic Centre, already a massive swimming complex that features four pools for competition, training, and diving, will expand and refurbish locker room and meeting facilities in addition to the new 10-lane, 50-meter competition pool in order to meet the needs of the upcoming events. That will give it two 25 meter pools and two 50 meter pools when completed, making it one of the largest swimming complexes in the world. The upgrade was originally planned for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, one of the biggest non-Olympic multi-sport events in the world, but was moved up when the opportunity to host Pan Pacs arose.
Officials also hinted at the release of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games brand and emblem to garner excitement around the event.
Local swim clubs and regional elite swimmers will also benefit from the pool upgrade, which is expected to double the current pool patronage.
Construction will be funded by the City of Gold Coast and the Queensland Government.