University of Birmingham 360

University of Birmingham 360

University of Birmingham crest

University of Birmingham 360

The opening of 360 Sports and Fitness on campus has been pushed back from its planned opening on January 9th

The day that the £55 million sports centre finally opens its doors has been pushed back from its opening date, January 9th, 2017, to early 2017. This follows worries that the building would not be ready to open in the new year.

Members were emailed on the 8th December to notify them of the delay. The email reaffirmed the University’s commitment to opening next year, but did not issue an updated opening time.

Compensation in the form of an ex gratia payment is currently being considered as the situation is reviewed, the email also stated. Additionally, members will be given a minimum of four weeks’ notice before the building is opened. Memberships to the Munrow Sports Centre will still automatically transfer to 360 when it does eventually open. A cap on memberships has, however, been enforced, to reduce overcrowding of the much smaller Munrow building.

One member, who chose to remain anonymous, said: ‘I think it’s outrageous. I bought membership to the Munrow purely because I knew it would transfer to the 360 Sports Centre – first at the start of December, and then in the New Year. I chose this gym over any number of the others because I thought 360 would have great facilities. But right now I’m yet to see any of the benefits from having done so.

‘You pay a lot of money for a gym membership, which is especially hard on students, since we’re really, really poor. I’ll be very disappointed if the University doesn’t offer serious compensation for having delayed the opening for so long’.

This is not the first delay. Originally, the building was slated to open its doors to members in July 2016. Its contractor, Interserve, was forced to push the opening back to September, to coincide with the arrival of the new academic intake. Builders failed to meet this deadline, and the opening was delayed until December 1st. A statement from the University of Birmingham claimed that this was due to various reasons. Notably, that the sports centre was a ‘large and complex build.’

Sophie Uyttenhove, second year English student, said: ‘I just hope that in due course, students that have paid can acquire their refunds. I doubt it’s purely the fault of the builders, though. You have to think about potential funding issues, too. Or if the builders were actually given enough time in the first place.’