Ararat’s ‘cultural home’ revamp underway

Posted Friday 28 April, 04:18pm

Workers have moved to begin carefully demolishing parts of Ararat’s arts precinct ahead of the site’s planned $7.735 million redevelopment.

Ararat Rural City Council Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said the delicate demolition operation would ensure the historic Town Hall was carefully preserved.

“With input from the community and user groups, the architects, WilliamsBoag, have created a design that respects the historic aspects of the site but also creates new spaces and opportunities for future generations,” Cr Hooper said.

“We’ve been very careful to protect the Town Hall and its historic qualities, so the demolition works will be something of a work of art themselves.” 

Cr Hooper said the redevelopment would result in a larger art gallery, including a café, and a refurbished theatre foyer.

Many of the other improvements would be “behind the scenes”, including a new ‘Green Room’ and improved dressing room for performers and more storage space.

“The last real upgrade of this site happened more than 40 years ago and with more than 60,000 people using this precinct every year, this redevelopment is well and truly due.”

Ballarat-based construction firm AW Nicholson was confirmed as the successful tenderer earlier this month and Cr Hooper said workers have now moved onto the site.

During the year-long construction, the Ararat Regional Gallery has been relocated to a temporary home in Ligar Street, with parts of the collection securely stored until the new gallery is opened.

Cr Hooper said the Performing Arts Centre had taken the opportunity to roll out its program in venues right across the region.

“It will be a very big year for the arts in Ararat, despite the fact that our cultural home – the Town Hall precinct – will be closed during the year-long construction phase,” he said.

The Ararat Arts Precinct redevelopment is jointly funded by the Federal and State governments and the Ararat Rural City Council.

A community fundraising effort is also underway.