Tenders have opened to renovate the historic Wintergarden Theatre building on Maryborough Street, with plans to transform the large space into a Community Hub by next year.
Following its recent purchase by Bundaberg Regional Council, the refurbishment will ensure the community can continue to enjoy the facility into the future.
The hub will provide permanent offices for a range of groups in addition to low-cost rooms for hire for not-for-profit organisations.
Local architect Tomas O’Malley designed the internal fit out of the Community Hub, with a focus on preserving the building’s history while providing modern facilities.
He said plenty of research of the former theatre, which first opened in 1929, had been involved and its heritage elements were a key feature of the renovation.
“We decided we were going to build a series of smaller buildings inside the building, essentially to maintain its existing external fabric while still having an efficient and sustainable product for the internal fit out,” Tomas said.
“Where the decorative plaster work and sculptures are, we really took the approach that we wouldn’t touch that area at all.
“It will be restored and repainted but that will be the only impact…”
Tomas said plenty of thought and community involvement had gone into the project.
“We undertook stakeholder engagement with various community groups to determine the requirements of what this facility would need,” he said.
“It has been a long process… but I think, overall, we have come up with an outcome that respects both the heritage of the building and the needs of the community.”
Community at the heart of redesign
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Community Hub project was one of the first to be delivered as part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s vision for a Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct.
“The aim of the Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct, which in its entirety also includes a new art gallery, performing arts theatre and Council service centre, is to inject new life into the CBD,” he said.
“This Community Hub will provide tenancy spaces for local organisations and provide a low-cost, well resourced facility that not-for-profit and community groups can use to host meetings, forums, provide training or raise awareness for important causes.
“By renovating this iconic building, it ensures we can keep much of the heritage elements of Wintergarden alive while repurposing the site for today and into the future.”
Tenders to renovate the building are now open and can be applied for here.
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