IT is the largest development the Greater Bendigo council has been involved in, and it is ready to go.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy this week approved a planning amendment that will see the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal dismiss an appeal against the $25.8 million plan to build a theatre in the former Bendigo gaol.
This will pave the way for work to begin, and the council, and developers the Victorian Department of Education, are keen to get the show on the road.
“We are keen to go to the market before the Bendigo hospital redevelopment does,” council City Futures director Stan Liacos said.
“The quicker we go to market the lower the cost.
“We can get the ball rolling now the project team has been given certainty.”
The Department will call for Expressions of Interest next week, with the expectation of releasing tender documents by December.
Construction will begin in March next year, and be completed by the end of 2014, in readiness for the 2015 school year.
If the tender can be awarded before that of the nearby $630 million hospital redevelopment it should allow, theoretically, for construction costs to be kept at a minimum.
“This project will create many potential opportunities for local industry,” Mr Liacos said.
“Sub contractors, service providers and suppliers are urged to lodge their registration of interest with the Industry Capability Network at www.icngateway.com.au under Victoria projects.”
Mr Guy said the project would create 121 construction jobs, a warm up for the 735 jobs the hospital will create during that build.
The theatre project scale is huge. All up, it will be about 7000 square metres, with 6000 square metres of new space.
To put that into context, it will be about the size of 12 basketball courts.
While most of the space will be taken up by the theatre and its foyer – one of the original gaol wings – there will also be buildings constructed for the adjacent Bendigo Senior Secondary College.
“This project will deliver a school performing arts centre, comprising music, drama and arts studios, as well as new food technology kitchens, a canteen and food technology theory space and general classrooms,” BSSC principal Dale Pearce said.
The council itself is paying only $3 million for the development, with state and federal governments chipping in the rest.
The money will be for the full completion and fitout of the project, but, as it did with the $15 million multi-storey carpark in the CBD, council will have to find a bit more for landscaping.
About $600,000 will need to be budgeted in the future for landscaping and works connecting the theatre to the planned 225 car spaces across the road.
Council is budgeting for a net operational budget cost of about $200,000 a year for the theatre, which will include two specific technicians for the facility.
The management and staff of The Capital will be responsible for the gaol theatre and its running.
Council and the government are putting the finishing touches on a joint-use agreement for the site, which includes who will run what sections and how the relationship around use will work.