Designs sought for performing arts centre

Latrobe City Council will call for tenders from architectural teams to design the Latrobe Valley’s much-anticipated new performing arts building.

Councillors decided at their Monday meeting to change the design process from a ‘competition’ model which would have involved architects submitting designs to council for their choosing.

Councillor Dan Clancey, who moved the motion, said the timeline of construction and eventual opening of the creative precinct would be “about the same” time for the tender process as the design competition process.

“There are too many risks (for the design competition process) in my opinion… what if nobody enters or we don’t like the designs submitted?,” Cr Clancey told the meeting.

“It actually looks like we (will) come out at the same time, but it comes out at a cheaper price, it just goes through a tender process rather than a competition process.”

Cr Clancey told The Express the timeline for securing an architect had a number of stages, including tender document to be written, advertising undertaken, submissions received, evaluations completed, recommendations made and finally, council approval given.

“With everyone working hard this will hopefully happen by December this year,” he said.

“The main reason for going down this preferred path is the advantage of having consultation touch-points that the community will be able to feed into. This will make the new Latrobe Creative Precinct fully owned, in both design and functionality, by the community.”

Cr Dale Harriman told Monday’s meeting the tender process would give the community more say in how the precinct would look and function.

“When it comes down to it, it is going to be the community that uses this facility, it is important that user groups have a say. We need to take communities’ ideas and mould it into that final design,” Cr Harriman said.

“We’re here to serve the community and by going by this notice of motion, we don’t want to end up with a product where the community have no say in it.”

Cr Brad Law said the tender option would allow council to have more control over the design process.

“I believe doing the project this way will shorten the process by several months. We get to select (the architects and builders) by what we want,” he said.

The arts centre will be built on the corner of Grey and Church streets, next to the site of the existing Traralgon Little Theatre and Town Hall, to form the ‘Latrobe Creative Precinct’.

It comes after almost a decade of discussion about the need for a new performing arts centre and debate about its location.

The Federal Government, State Government and Latrobe City Council will all contribute $10 million to construction of the facility.