In April 2016, Ballarat City Council approved a precinct master plan to create a flexible community space at the Civic Hall site. The masterplan has been completed to ensure future work is realistic and deliverable.
The City of Ballarat will implement a staged works program, which includes:
Developing the Civic Hall Main Hall and foyer as a multi-function space and a heart of culture and community activity
Commencing work on a public plaza
Constructing soft and hard landscape to the west side
Earlier this year the tender for design of the Civic Hall’s interior was awarded to a design team lead by Baumgart Clark Architects Pty Ltd. The design team has since created a concept plan to repurpose the main hall and associated areas and develop a flexible community space.
In June 2017, Council was provided with a concept design for the redevelopment of the Civic Hall main hall and associated spaces.
The concept plan has been a result of detailed investigation of the space and reflects community input.
The design concept plan:
Retains the open, flat floor space of the main hall
Retains the ability to use the existing stage, including the fly tower and adequate back of stage space for events suited to the venue
Retains almost all dress circle foyer seating with views of the stage, with the removal of a small number of existing seats to provide disabled access in line with building code requirements
Respects the art-deco character and community heritage of the site
Creates flexible, sub-dividable spaces suitable for a wide range of community activities, including meetings, group activities, visual art exhibitions, classes and provision of community-based services
Creates the opportunity for performance spaces on three different scales:
A black box theatre (approximately 100 audience)
A community lecture theatre/intimate performance space (approximately 300 audience)
A large flat floor theatre with raked dress circle seating (approximately 1000 audience seated, with additional capacity if standing)
Provides for a cafe to activate the western side of the site
Provides ample storage to support multi-function community uses
Allows for the progression of future developments on the site
The priority will be to undertake initial internal works to allow the Civic Hall to be reopened for community use as soon as possible within the existing budget allocation, while a funding application for the remainder of the project is currently with the Federal Government through the Building Better Regions Funds.
Work is continuing on the landscaping surrounding the Civic Hall main hall.
Landscaping commenced in April 2017 as part of an early package of works to redevelop the precinct.
The tender for landscaping works to create a public plaza has been awarded to Ballarat construction company S.H.A.E Enterprises Pty Ltd.
Once completed the landscaping will provide inviting open spaces and will represent the first major work in the Civic Hall’s surrounds since the installation of the skate park in 1993.
The works involve:
South side: Improved access to the Civic Hall, and removal of 20-year-old skate park to deliver additional hard surfaces, garden beds and trees
West side: Grassed areas, plants, trees, seating, giant chess board and two-dimensional maze
2 trees will be planted for every tree removed
2 Ginkgo Trees planted to commemorate the opening of the Ballarat Begonia Festival will be replaced with another 2 Ginkgo Trees. The original plaques will be retained
No net loss of car parking compared to original site before early works construction
Other early works have included:
Façade lighting to improve security on the site and highlight the building’s exterioR
Restoration of the building’s southern façade by cleaning and fixing the brickwork, and repairing and painting the render
Realignment of the eastern car park (Armstrong Street North). Included removing the 20-year-old skate park half pipe, resurfacing and line marking, and installation of parking ticket machines. The parking rates are in line with other Council-administered public car park facilities. All day parking is still available.
A tender for design services has been awarded to Baumgart Clark Architects; including local firms TGM engineering and Wendy Jacobs heritage advisory.
Early investigations are underway, including in-ground services location and condition audit and electrical metering and connection arrangements.
The next steps will include a comprehensive internal survey and condition audit (including heritage), the development of concept designs, and identify possible early works.
Landscaping work is expected to be complete by August 2017, weather permitting.
Anticipated completion date for other works will be updated pending further design consultation.