Upgrades underway for Mars Stadium
Ballarat's Mars Stadium has commenced a $6.6 million upgrade that will see various facilities improved including new entrances to the regional venue.
The upgrade works follow an $11.8 million pledge for the precinct from Labor leading into the 2018 state election, with $6.6 million dedicated to Mars Stadium and a further $5.2 million for the newly opened Ballarat Sports and Events Centre.
Work at Mars Stadium includes the construction of two new permanent entrances, new food and beverage outlets, permanent toilets for the Southern end and upgraded unisex player change rooms.
The City of Ballarat opened the tender process earlier this year in May and construction is now underway, with work expected to completed by late 2021.
Since its major redevelopment in 2017, the Ballarat venue, formerly known as Eureka Stadium, has hosted five AFL premiership season matches, A-League matches as well as Super Rugby and Nitro Circus.
The upgrades will improve facilities at the stadium for hosting elite sports and events, with the City of Ballarat believing the existing amenities could have become a sticking point to retaining and attracting such events.
Work will also include improved disability access to seating in the western and eastern stands, while standing areas for spectators will be improved for viewing on the terrace. Concrete terracing will replace some of the grassed area on the eastern hill.
The AFL-sanctioned capacity is 10,700 fans and in 2018, City of Ballarat explored development options to expand AFL match capacity to at least 15,000 fans, according to the project tender outlines.
The state government has confirmed Victoria's major stadia strategy recognises Mars Stadium's importance and value as a second-tier venue "to support the growth of emerging sports, promote sport to regional areas and support scheduling conflicts in Victoria's busy sports and events calendar".
Meanwhile, planned stage two upgrades to the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre include permanent three-on-three basketball courts, a strength and conditioning gym and a new skin for the original build.