Work has started on the $15 million expansion of the Belconnen Arts Centre, with Minister for the Arts and Cultural Events, Gordon Ramsay turning the first sod on site on Wednesday (19 December).
The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2020, and the expanded Centre at Emu Bank by Lake Ginninderra will include a flexible theatre space, a new dance and rehearsal studio, new exhibition space, and a café.
Mr Ramsay said the new flexible theatre space would provide opportunities for performing arts that previously hadn’t been available in Belconnen.
“The community is supportive of these upgrades and today marks a very exciting day for the individuals and organisations that have campaigned for the expanded facilities,” he said.
“We received valuable input from the staff and board about the design of the new spaces, and I look forward to seeing that vision come to fruition.”
Mr Ramsay said the project, being undertaken by local construction company PBS Building, was also a big win for Canberra’s construction industry and university students, creating 27 new jobs and many training opportunities for cadets undergoing a Bachelor of Building and Construction Management at the University of Canberra.
“This was a 2016 election commitment and I’m glad that we were able to break the ground on this project before the end of 2018,” he said.
Arts activities will continue as per usual at the Arts Centre during the construction period, with minor disruptions posted on the Belconnen Arts Centre website at relevant stages of the project.
The ACT Government is also working on the design of the foreshore shared path for the section of the lake next to the arts centre, which will allow coordination between the arts centre site design and the foreshore shared path design.
The expansion of the Belconnen Arts Centre was part of the 2016 Parliamentary Agreement between ACT Labor and the ACT Greens.