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Local contractor awarded £38m Olympic pool project

A CO Antrim building firm has been awarded a multi-million pound contract to build Northern Ireland's first Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The 50m pool will be constructed by Farrans Construction as part of a new leisure complex at Valentine Playing Fields in Bangor.

The project represents an investment of £38m, including £15m investment from the Northern Ireland Executive.

Around 20 staff of Farrans are expected to work on the project, as well as 200 tradesmen.

Construction is due to start on site before the end of this month, and the pool is timetabled to open by late summer 2012.

DUP mayor of North Down, John Montgomery, said: "The council is delighted that the contract for the pool and leisure centre has now been awarded and we look forward to work starting on the site.

"This facility will be a tremendous local legacy from the London 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and deliver long-term economic and sporting benefits to the people of north Down and the wider Northern Ireland community.

"I would like to offer my congratulations to Farrans and we look forward to working with the company over the next two years as we see this very exciting project progress."

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland said: "This will be Northern Ireland's first Olympic-sized swimming pool. As a regional centre of excellence, it will be a facility to be enjoyed by all the people of Northern Ireland. Also, the commencement of this project will be a major boost to our local construction industry.

"I wish the contractors well as they start to build what I am sure will be an iconic sporting facility for Northern Ireland."

Eamonn McCartan, chief executive of Sport Northern Ireland, said: "Sport Northern Ireland is extremely pleased to see the imminent commencement of this project. As the lead agency for the development of sport in Northern Ireland, we are excited about supporting the creation of sports facilities such as these which will both drive up participation and develop high performance in sport."

Farrans specialises in public and private infrastructure projects throughout the UK. It is a division of Northstone Northern Ireland, itself a subsidiary of CRH.