Ballymore will be developed into a national rugby training centre following confirmation of $15 million in Government funding.
The $35 million plan will see the venue completely rebuilt. The high-performance centre will include a national headquarters for women’s Rugby and it’ll also serve as a hub for Asian and Pacific Island rugby.
Both grandstands will be demolished, replaced by a 3000-seat pavilion, administration, community and performance-related spaces and a hill that stretches around three sides of the main ground, reducing the capacity from 18,000 to 12,000.
Rugby Australia will contribute $5 million to the project, while Queensland Rugby Union are in positive talks with the State Government to match the $15 million pledge of the Labor Government, which was this week matched by the Federal Government.
“Rugby Australia is extremely grateful for the support of the Australian Government for a world-class facility, which has paved the way for the Government to bring to life the original vision of the former Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard for Ballymore,” Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said.
“Securing bipartisan Government support for the development of the NRTC is a crucial step forward in Rugby Australia and the QRU’s plans for Ballymore and we will continue to work with the Queensland Government to unlock a matching commitment.”
Ballymore has been the home of Queensland Rugby Union since 1966 and was the home ground of the Queensland Reds until matches moved to Suncorp Stadium in 2005. A record crowd of 26,000 attended a Wallabies v South Africa test match in 1993. In recent years, the future of the venue has been in some doubt.
Flagged as the home of a potential A-League expansion team or maintained as a boutique alternative to Suncorp Stadium, a taskforce by Stadiums Queensland in December 2018 recommended the discontinuation of Ballymore as a major venue.
The NRTC concept has been designed by Nicholas George of TVS Architects. TVS also designed Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Albion, Brisbane.
Spread over 6,500 square metres, it will feature changerooms for up to 80 men and women and cutting-edge sports science and recovery facilities. It'll feature three fields and the venue will be opened up to the community.