A once in a generation project to refurbish the West Gippsland Arts Centre was completed in late 2018. Here is an archived history of the redevelopment:

This project will honour the commitment and investment of all those behind the arts centre’s conception and growth over the last 30 years, by ensuring it will continue to be a leading regional arts centre for the next 30 years and more.

It will serve our community right now to enable it to better provide entertainment, stimulation, excitement, a point of social gathering, a place for families to share experiences, for children to take their first bow and for the community to share in the world of touring performing arts enjoyed by Australians in cities and towns elsewhere.
It will respond to the growth of our local population, to help ensure we remain a vibrant and liveable place.

It will strengthen our capacity to be a strong centre for the creative industries and will provide job opportunities both directly and indirectly as it serves to stimulate the local economy, and bring visitors and tourists.

Find out more about how you can support WGAC HERE

A Message from the Mayor

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire, Cr Joe Gauci, delivers a special message about the West Gippsland Arts Centre redevelopment and Re-opening Festival. 

Redevelopment Project Update 10-05-18

Here's the latest WGAC Redevelopment Project update video - and it's a huge one! Join Rob and Tristan as they reveal the massive changes that have taken place since our last video.

Redevelopment Project Update 18-01-17

You may have heard this week that the completion of West Gippsland Art Centre Redevelopment Project has been delayed. We know you will appreciate that a project of this size and scope requires that the standards to which the works are completed are extremely high, and to that end we are committed to ensuring the project delivers a a result that will continue to serve you and our community for many years to come.

While we are disappointed that these unavoidable delays have occurred, Baw Baw Shire Council, the team at WGAC, our architects and engineers, and all of the people working to bring the redevelopment to completion are working hard to keep this exciting project moving ahead.

We are working with stakeholders, customers, and patrons who have been affected by the delays, and are doing our best to make sure that their impacts are minimised for all. As always, our priorities lie with the community who have been such a large part of WGAC's history.

We are confident that the end result will be worth the wait!

As we examine the project's ongoing status and work to minimise the impacts of the delays, and as more information comes to light, we will continue to keep you updated via social media and our website. Our Redevelopment Project page at www.wgac.com.au, has detailed information about the project, including our awesome project update videos, giving you detailed insights into the amazing changes that have been taking place.

The particulars of the delays, with a statement by Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Joe Gauci, are outlined in a news item that can be read at Baw Baw Shire Council's website here: http://www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/Latest-News/West-Gippsland-Arts-Centre-Update

Redevelopment Project Update 22-03-18

Around WGAC in 254 Days - here's a montage of the progress that's taken place over the last 8 months on the WGAC Redevelopment Project. From the first drone flight to today's pouring of the slab on the first floor of the new northern foyer. Perfect weather for a slab, don't you think? Enjoy!

Music by Liquid Horse - 'Don't Let This Be The Last Blues Song You Ever Hear'

Redevelopment Project Update 14-02-18

A very special moment in the WGAC redevelopment process: A group of stakeholders attend a ceremony during which the last Golden Nut and Bolt are fixed to the massive steel beam of the balcony section. Baw Baw Shire Mayor Joe Gauci attends this milestone event along with the Friends of the Arts Centre as they place the last bolt into the join and sign the steel beam. We also include some fascinating time-lapse footage of the beam being constructed and lifted in to place.

Redevelopment Project Update 25-01-18

A mesmerising time-lapse video showing a single day's work on the WGAC Redevelopment. This video also marks a milestone as the large steel beams are lifted onto the work platform inside the theater itself. These beams will form the front support for the new balcony, and will be bolted into place in early February (stay tuned for that milestone event!). During the time-lapse you will also see the construction of the framework for the two new foyer levels above the old Parkview Room. They will provide access to the balcony and offer some amazing views across the region!

Redevelopment Project Update 12-12-17

Just a quick fly around this week for the WGAC Upgrade Project video, with some pointers on the latest external work that's been done over the last few weeks. The rain has done its best to force everyone inside, but as soon as its stops the crew are back outside again doing great work. And if the music doesn't get you bopping along, we'll have to try out a polka or two!

Redevelopment Project Update 16-11-17

Something a little different for this week's WGAC Upgrade Project video, as we take a group through the site to take a closer look at how the works are progressing. Join us!

Redevelopment Project Update 31-10-17

Our best episode yet? in our eighth WGAC upgrade progress video, Rob and Deb take you inside the building to see some amazing changes, installations and additions. We have glass!

Redevelopment Project Update 06-10-17

Episode seven of our progress update videos is here! A short and sweet catchup this week as Tristan returns to take Venue Operations Coordinator Debbie on a quick tour of the recent works. Despite rain pushing back some of the proposed concrete pours by several weeks, the cafe slab and north office slab are done, while works continue within where new dressing room excavations are complete and construction has begun. Don't forget to share with your friends and we'll keep you posted with more updates.

Redevelopment Project Update 21-09-17

Here's episode six of our WGAC Redevelopment Progress videos! This week, Rob flies solo (although Tristan still makes a couple of appearances) as he revisits some of the sites we've seen in previous weeks to catch up on how things are progressing. Don't forget to share us with your friends to get the word out there and we'll keep you posted in the coming weeks with regular updates.

Redevelopment Project Update 07-09-17

Here's episode five of our WGAC Redevelopment Progress videos. The project has taken a big step forward this week with new steel structural framework lifted into place. The head contractor, Building Engineering, had a crane on site early in the day and lifted the first of the large steel framework pieces into position on the newly excavated and poured foundation. 

Redevelopment Project Update 28-08-17

In this fourth episode of our redeveleopment project videos, we take you inside the auditorium to show you the massive work platform where the main part of the balcony construction will take place. You'll also see the cavities opened up at the eastern side of the venue where the new foyer levels will be constructed.

Honour the past : Serve the present : Inspire the future

Redevelopment Project Update 21-08-17

The third episode of our WGAC Redevelopment Update Videos is a tad late - we're blaming the rain! However, we've forged on ahead to bring you this new installment, giving you a before and after glimpse at what we can expect to see on a few key areas of the building on completion.

Honour the past : Serve the present : Inspire the future

Redevelopment Project Update 10-08-17

Here's the second installment of our weekly WGAC Redevelopment Update videos. In this episode we show you a part of the building you don't always see, and how the changes will make WGAC a more attractive option for large touring productions - giving you more entertainment choices and cementing West Gippsland Arts Centre's place as the Centre of choice in Gippsland!

Honour the past : Serve the present : Inspire the future

Redevelopment Project Update 03-08-17

Here's the first of our WGAC Redevelopment Update and Walk-through videos, keeping you up-to-date with the status of the works. Manager of Arts and Culture, Rob Robson is joined by Project Manager Tristan Hennessy on Today's tour. Let us know what you think below! 

Honour the past : Serve the present : Inspire the future

Project Update 

Monday 10 July 2017

The West Gippsland Arts Centre Upgrade works are now in the fourth month of the sixteen month project and as winter sets in we are seeing solid progress on the site. Most works so far have been to demolish some parts and underpin other parts of the existing building in preparation for extensions to foyers and the new café structure which will look out over Civic Park. Up to now, the key jobs seem to be about pulling things down rather than building new and we really look forward to spring when the upgrade will start to take shape. 

Still, the removal of the disused Community Assets building (former Warragul library), which so badly blocked the Arts Centre building, has been quite a transformation already and the open space it creates will be a huge asset in making the new building much more inviting. We are sure it will provide a great new gathering and open air performance space.

The mature Pin Oak and European trees outside the Arts Centre building and the native trees along the northern boundary of the WGAC car park are being protected and will be integrated into the forecourt design.

The roof of the southern and eastern foyer (the old Parkview room areas) and the eastern brick wall have been removed making way for the construction of the new upper level foyers above. Construction of the northern foyer, which will bring the audience into the auditorium from the opposite side to the existing main entry, has commenced. 

Most exciting, a working platform is being constructed in the auditorium to enable the existing steel lighting bridges to be removed and the construction of the new seating balcony to commence.

Meanwhile plumbers have been digging new drainage lines, electricians are installing miles of cabling and the existing floors are all well propped to support the heavy machinery working on floors above.

Civic Place is now closed down to a one-way north bound traffic lane with 40km/h speed restrictions. Entry to Civic Park is now from Albert Street with the exit at Smith Street. Access to the Civic Park toilets remains open.

History of West Gippsland Arts Centre

West Gippsland Arts Centre (WGAC) was built in 1982 to provide a regional performing arts centre for the people of Gippsland. The project was inspired by local activists and supported strongly by the Hamer state government.

The project cost $4.5 million at the time and was jointly funded by Local and State Governments as well as receiving $450,000 in local contributions through community fundraising.

The original plan was for a venue of 750 – 800 seats, with a balcony and stalls seating. It was also intended to have a mechanised fore-stage platform. Budget shortfalls caused by building delays led to the balcony seating and mechanised stage lift being cut from the design, reducing
seating capacity to 490.

However, the very high quality and well equipped stage infrastructure was defended from cuts and even today WGAC still boasts one of the very best stage facilities in all Victoria.

The Arts Centre provides our community with entertainment, stimulation, excitement, a point of social gathering, a place for families to share experiences, for children to take their first bow, and for the community to see the world of touring performing arts shared by Australians in cities and towns elsewhere.

The West Gippsland Regional Arts Centre (WGRAC) upgrade project honours the efforts of the original founders and workers, and aims to ‘get the job finished’. The aim is to finally achieve the original vision for this important regional facility.

Upgrade Masterplanning

In 2012, Council engaged Williams Ross Architects to undertake a master-planning exercise to determine possible future development of WGAC.

Their overview showed the building itself was very well designed and had ‘excellent bones’ but, at 30 plus years of age, was in need of major refurbishment if it was going to continue to serve the community in the future.
Reasons for Redevelopment

Seating and public amenities were in poor condition and staff areas were inadequate for the needs of such an actively used building.

The original aim of the building, to have 750 – 800 seats would enable far better use to be made of the very good stage, which has the ability to present much larger shows than the current limited audience capacity of 490 seats can attract. This also significantly improves the economic sustainability of the centre and thus its ability to support subsidised community use.

The architects highlighted significant issues around compliance with contemporary building accessibility codes.

They also noted that changes made in the year 2000 had obscured the point of arrival and caused internal areas such as the foyers and auditorium entrances to be congested.

The upgrade project is now underway.

The upgrade project aims to:

    Honour the commitment and investment of all those who have been behind the success of West Gippsland Arts Centre over the past 30 plus years, by bringing the original and future visions for the Arts Centre into being.

Support and enable the people of the community right now; both those who currently use the facility and those who may use it in the future.

Respond to the rapid growth of our local population by closing the asset renewal gap, and extending the life and maintaining the standard of the Arts Centre building.
Be a community asset that helps shape the kind of community we want to be in the future.

Serve our future needs as a community and provide job opportunities both directly and indirectly as it serves to stimulate the local economy, bring visitors and tourists.

Upgrade Project Key Outcomes

- Improved accessibility at all levels.

- Improved seating capacity and economic sustainability.

- Improved connection to active public spaces.

- Improved ability to offer other services such as conferences,  
exhibitions, meetings, and visitor information and event and attraction bookings

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