ARARAT - In a few short months the Alexandra Oval sporting complex will be the envy of many other towns in Western Victoria.
The $3.3million community and recreation centre development is fast taking shape at the Alexandra Oval Reserve, with close to half of the construction work now complete.
Ararat Rural City design and project management coordinator, Alison Tonkin said Melbourne based company Contract Control has been hard at work to keep the development on schedule and ready for opening in three and a half month's time.
"We are on track to finish on time, we are just working through a few delays with weather which is expected," she said.
"It is probably about two weeks behind, but that's pretty good. You can just have a day here or there that puts tradies out.
"It's nothing major and we are pretty confident we can catch that up. We still have the same finishing date in September.
“They (Contract Control) are ticking along very well and doing a great job. They have also had a number of local labourers involved since the project began.”
The construction site was cleared in December with the demolition of the Fiscalini Pavilion following Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty ceremoniously turning the first sod.
When workers returned from the Christmas/New Year break the site was excavated and a concrete slab laid, paving the way for the foundations of the state of the art 200-seat community space (building A) and changerooms (building B).
“We have the roof on Building A now and we have got all the plastering going up in there at the moment and you can really start to get a feel for that space,” Ms Tonkin said.
“Building B we haven’t got the roof on yet because we have just started doing the block work. There are more internal rooms in that section, so we have to do that block work before the roof goes on.
“It is tricky to say exactly when (local sporting clubs will have access), because it will be complete but we will still have some fit out stuff that Council has to do, just some teething in.
“Definitely by the end of the year we will be seeing people in here using it.”
Ms Tonkin said the Grampians Cricket Association’s clubs are likely to be the first sporting organisations to gain access, while the Ararat Football Club will also be able to use the facility for the start of its 2015 pre-season campaign.
Once complete Ms Tonkin said the possibilities are endless for the various types of sporting events Alexandra Oval will be capable of hosting.
Ararat Rural City Council has already started talking with a number of sporting bodies, including Cricket Australia to gauge what professional matches it can attract.
“We are already starting preliminary discussions with all sorts of organisations to see what is out there, but we won’t know for sure until they can see the completed facility,” Ms Tonkin said.
“It is really important to understand too that it is fully accessible for everyone, so you have your female change rooms and your umpires change rooms.
“It is also accessible for any ability as well, so even your Tri State Games, we will be able to attract those sorts of events too.
“We are really trying to encourage that multi use centre.”
Applications closed last Friday for positions on the new Alexandra Oval Reserve User Reference Group, which will ensure appropriate governance, sustainability, equity and operational capacity is developed and maintained in accordance with the Alexandra Oval Reserve Management Plan.
Ms Tonkin said the new group will replace the Alexandra Oval Reserve Committee of Management, which worked tirelessly with Ararat Rural City Council for many years to ensure this project got off the ground.
“We are setting up an advisory group, which will mean the committee of management will no longer exist and the advisory group will take control,” she said.
“That will be great to have a new group on board that will take this new state of the art facility forward — it is all very exciting.”
Construction of the multipurpose space is a partnership project funded through the Australian Government Department of Regional Australia, State Government Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, Ararat Rural City Council, Ararat Community Enterprise, Alexandra Oval Reserve COM and the Ararat Football-Netball Club.
Council is also continuing to look into funding for stage two of the project, which will eventually see the netball courts relocated to the rear of the facility.