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Rio to Use 2016 Olympics Handball Arena for Four Public Schools

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Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The handball arena will be moved and converted into four public schools in Rio de Janeiro after the 2016 Summer Olympics, a first for the games.

Organizers said yesterday they had opened a construction tender for the “nomadic architecture” of what will be a federally funded 178 million reais ($76.8 million) project, part of the city’s efforts to increase the number of hours of education available.

Rio has committed 2.1 billion reais on building and refurbishing schools to ensure 35 percent of children receive a minimum of seven classroom hours a day by 2016, an amount now available to 17 percent of the city’s students.

“This is the first time that this concept of nomadic architecture will be used in the Olympics, ensuring that even a temporary installation can provide a tangible legacy for the city,” Maria Silvia Bastos, president of the municipal Olympic committee, said in a statement.

The use of public money on sports projects has come under scrutiny in Brazil since June when protesters used the staging of soccer’s Confederations Cup to complain about the costs of the Olympics and next year’s soccer World Cup. Organizers of the Rio Games have repeatedly delayed publishing their budget. In its bid, Rio said about $15 billion in public and private financing would be needed to stage the event.

“This decision is in line with the vision of city hall and the federal government to prioritize cost savings, simplicity and convenience in the preparation of the city for the Olympic Games,” according to a statement from city hall.

The 12,000-person capacity handball arena will be built in an area of about 35,000 square meters at the Olympic Park, and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015, officials said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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