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City calls for Coalition to back Her Majesty’s revival

Days out from the State Election, the city is still to receive backing from the opposition for the much needed structural works to be completed on the 143-year-old building.

Visiting the site on Monday to view the start of the installation of three structural steel beams and nine steel columns which are being installed to strengthen the structure of the stage, Mayor Samantha McIntosh implored to Coalition to match Labor’s commitment for the historic theatre.

“We want to make sure Her Majesty’s has another 143 years,” she said. “When you look at this structure, you can see clearly that there needs to be some bigger picture or visionary response.

“There has been many decades of work done and at each of those stages it’s clear to see with the floors pulled up that not everyone has known the work of previous contractors.

“This means so much to us, when you look at the individuals who have responded to the campaign, we can’t ignore this and we can’t ignore the opportunity and future created if we do the right thing.”

Cr McIntosh said she saw Her Majesty’s as a project that should have “bi-partisan support”.

“I will continue to talk as long and as strong as I can with any representatives from the Liberal Party to see that we get a matching announcement,” she said.

Director Nicholson Constructions Richard Nicholson said demolition of the stage floor had been completed with the stage reconstruction due to be completed by Christmas.

He said it would enable scaffolding to be erected so workers could gain access to the roof trusses.

“What we are doing is supplementing the structure with three new steel bearers and relaying them to reconstruct the stage in a same layout and structure of the beams,” Mr Nicholson said.

“There were some surprises, but nothing so insurmountable that will stop us finishing on time. The critical part for us is to have the stage reconstructed in the next four weeks so we can erect the scaffold and have a look at what is happening.”

Mount Rowan Secondary College gets new gym and music block in funding

Announcing the election promise on Tuesday, the Coalition says it will fund a new gym, music block and also provide a new synthetic court at the school. It matches a commitment made by Labor on October 17.

Ripon MP Louise Staley said while Mount Rowan was an outstanding local school, an upgrade for the gym and music department is long overdue.

The school is currently undergoing a $12.6 million renovation of facilities, as well as a brand new humanities wing, and an upgraded administration building.

It is the first major upgrade of the school since it was built in the 1970s.

This year it was also announced that the Ballarat Secondary College name would no longer exist from next year with Mount Rowan Secondary College and Woodmans Hill Secondary College becoming stand-alone schools from term one next year.

Slam dunk for Ballarat indoor sport as premier promises millions

Premier Daniel Andrews matched a $5.2 million pledge for stage two works at Ballarat Sports and Events Centre on Tuesday afternoon, adding to a $9 million play Labor made to start the new stadium going into the 2014 state election.

The Liberal-Nationals committed the full stage two amount in October, should they win government in next week’s election.

This will mean a purpose-built strength and conditioning gym and three-on-three outdoor basketball courts, popularly known as street ball, as key features in stage two developments.

If you have got an opportunity to go even further, then you should always take it… To roll into existing an tender and have it all delivered in one go is just a fantastic outcome.

Premier Daniel Andrews

“If you have got an opportunity to go even further, then you should always take it,” Mr Andrews said. “We think that sometimes staggering projects is really important but sometimes to take that next step is really important as well. To roll into existing an tender and have it all delivered in one go is just a fantastic outcome.”

BSEC is also now a confirmed high-performance basketball training hub for emerging talent and elite athletes.

The project will also now get a modern skin, uniting existing facilities to the new wing.

Basketball Ballarat has already formalised partnerships with Federation University and University of the Third Age, which focuses on classes for the semi-retired and retirees, to maximise learning opportunities in the BSEC – particularly in the now-funded strength and conditioning gym.

Nicholson Construction remains on schedule to deliver stage one works by mid-2019. This will include six new courts – one a 3000-seat multi-purpose showcourt – learning rooms and sports medicine facilities.

Mr Andrews said the stadium was shaping up to not only be one of the best facilities in regional Victoria, but also for regional Australia that could host a whole range of events and tournaments.

The Premier visited existing courts on site to make Labor’s play as part of an $11.8 million for the Eureka Sports precinct. Mars Stadium will get $6.6 million in upgrades, should Labor be re-elected.

Mr Andrews said this funding was to boost game day experience for major sporting events, including more AFL matches for premiership points.

New ticket boxes, covered areas, permanent bathrooms and food and drinks areas, are high on the agenda with improved accessible seating and standing viewing, and fixing stadium niggles, like lighting.

Mr Andrews said it was vital to keep improving Mars for community and elite sport like AFL because in turn, this had a strong flow-on effect on the Ballarat economy.

BSEC has been a project being realised after more than a decade of lobbying.

Basketball Ballarat chief Peter Eddy said it was fantastic to have the funding commitment to move straight into the full construction vision.