THE Sandy Point Community Centre is nearing completion and should be ready for use within a few weeks, despite the company responsible for the build, Core Properties, going into voluntary administration in recent weeks.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s Director of Infrastructure, Anthony Seabrook, confirmed this week that Council has contractual issues with the Melbourne-based building company, but said that the build was 90 per cent complete.
“Council will finish the work, employing sub-contractors,” he said. “Council will meet all its obligations under the contract and the project should be finished in three or four weeks. We have hopefully only lost a week or so.”
When ‘The Mirror’ toured last Thursday the construction site was silent, deserted save for the shire’s building project officer, Bruce Faulkner, who acted as guide.
The centre is being built to replace the old T.P. Taylor Hall, which has long outlived its use-by date, with the Sandy Point community in need of a much bigger centre.
The $1.5 million (approximately) project is funded by a $1.3 million grant from the federal government’s economic stimulus package, along with $150,000 raised by the community and a matching shire council contribution of $150,000.
“It has been a solidly community-driven project,” said the president of the T.P. Taylor Hall Committee and project coordinator (for 12 long years according to her estimation) Di Casbolt.
“It has been strongly supported by the Sandy Point community, both permanent residents and holiday home owners. All saw a need. It will be widely used by the community. As well as the huge main room which will hold 100 people comfortably and be suitable for all sorts of functions, there are several smaller rooms suitable for meetings and consultants, from Foster Medical Centre, for example, or meetings of local youth.”
MGS Architects designed the building, which measures 380 square metres and has an external colour scheme which pays homage to Sandy Point’s surfing heritage. The timber frame is clad with lightweight construction panels painted in shades (very much toned down) of the red and yellow of surf life saving patrols such as Sandy Point’s own Waratah Beach SLSC.
Although the length of the building and much of the deck face north to optimise warmth and light from the sun, entry is from the east, off Church Parade, where there is a ramp for disabled access, as well as steps, up to the front entrance platform of exposed concrete aggregate inlaid with pebbles and – fittingly for a beachside centre – shells.
The entry canopy is yet to be completed, as is the paintwork. There is also electrical, plumbing and mechanical fit-offs to be done, and some operable walls and sliding doors have to be installed. There is much to be admired already in the building, however.
Once inside the big glass doors at the entrance, the front room has a built-in window bench, handy if the room is used as a waiting room. A nearby room will be perfect for visiting consultants. An operable wall will be installed so the room, which boasts an abundance of shelves and cupboards, can be divided into two if required.
The main room of the building is huge, measuring 15 metres by 9 metres, and wonderfully light, with lots of high windows and sliding glass doors which open to the deck. Window bench seats are a nice touch, as is the hydronic heating with reverse cycle air conditioning units as back-up. The sloping ceiling soars to a height of 6.4 metres, while the hardwearing concrete floor has an epoxy finish.
In this room, as in the entire building, the lower sections of wall are clad in Cypress Pine plantation timber, with white painted plaster above. The room is designed to accommodate a range of groups including the local carpet bowls club, who will no doubt welcome the trundles in the wall where they can store their mats. The room will become especially useful when an operable wall is installed, allowing it to be divided in two if required.
The deck, constructed of Spotted Gum, an Australian hardwood, has built-in seating along part of its length. Along the west of the building it commands an excellent view of the tennis courts. A pergola is still to be constructed above the deck and a wide expanse of the north side of the site planted out with lawn.
There are more meeting rooms in the complex, as well as toilet facilities, plenty of storage and a kitchen with servery opening to the grounds near the courts. The kitchen is still awaiting the installation of appliances, which will include the dishwasher from the old T.P. Taylor Hall, which has been dismantled pending a new life at a new site.
Diane Casbolt said she was thrilled that the project is at last nearing completion. “It’s looking wonderful and will look even better when the painting is finished,” she said.
She added: “We have already had bookings from groups wishing to use the building. I invite people who want to book it to contact Sally Gibson, who handles bookings for the hall.” Sally Gibson can be contacted on 5684 1545.