Olympics: Rio Games handball arena to become schools

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Rio Olympic Games organisers said Thursday the 2016 handball arena will be transported across the city to become four schools.

The move is in keeping with the need to ensure no 'white elephant' facilities stand idle after the multi-sport showpiece event.

It is all part of the idea that there must be a maximum "legacy" conferred to the host city after South America's first ever Olympics, sparking the creation of "nomadic architecture" in what will be a Games first.

And the handball arena is a prime example, the Municipal Olympic Company (EOM) and the Games Organising Committee revealed following the opening of bidding for the construction of the venue at the nascent Olympic Park at Barra da Tijuca west of the city.

After the Games are over the component parts will be taken down and converted into four schools for 2,000 students, in keeping with "legacy mode". Three of the schools will be in the Barra da Tijuca area with the other one in Maracana, near the iconic football stadium.

Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman saluted the idea.

"Converting the Rio 2016 Handball Arena into four schools after the Games is an excellent example of Rio's commitment to ensuring the 2016 Games leave tangible benefits for the local community.

"The nomadic architecture concept... is a first for the Games and we are proud that 2,000 Brazilian schoolchildren will benefit from it for many years to come," Mr Nuzman said.

The project will cost 178 million reais (S$100 million) with 20 million reais of the total going on dismantling the venue and a further 31 million on reassembling the material at the school sites.

EOM President Maria Silvia Bastos Marques said the authorities had agreed the venue would be temporary before defining in advance how the structure could be put to long term future use.

The venue will also host goalball in the Paralympics.