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Design plan for Civic Hall interior to be unveiled

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Cr Samantha McIntosh holding the concept plan for the Media, outside the Civic Hall last Friday.

WORKS to redevelop Ballarat’s Civic Hall are progressing with a concept plan for the hall’s interior unveiled on Friday.

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, who have since created a concept plan to repurpose the main hall and associated areas and develop a flexible community space.

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 communitybased 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 and completion is expected in the coming months. Looking at the plans City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the aim was to celebrate and respect the 1950s. “We really want to reflect upon the architecture of the deco period, we want to use as much of what we’ve got, as we possibly can, we want to recycle, refurbish and restore, for example the old chairs,” she said. “The feedback over the last decade has been very strong, very loud, very clear, that people love the Hall, there are beautiful memories here and we absolutely care about the social and cultural history.”