MANAGERS for Warrnambool City Council’s biggest-ever capital works construction project, the Lighthouse Theatre, have been applauded for finishing it under budget at $8.87 million.
They saw the redevelopment done on time with an estimated $63,685 surplus, according to the end-of-project report presented to last night’s city council meeting.
Construction costs accounted for $7.7 million — up by more than $920,000 on the post-tender budget, while consultants’ fees came in at $945,925 — up by almost $53,000 on budget.
Consultants included a project management company, architectural services company, a quantity surveyor and various sub-consultants for mechanical services, theatre and acoustics, civil and structural engineering, building surveying and fire services. The big savings came with contingencies.
The post-tender budget had been set at more than $1 million, but none of this was needed. Separate streetscape works funded separately by the council takes the total cost for the whole site redevelopment around the previous performing arts centre to $9.3 million.
Community development director Vicky Mason’s report showed the council’s own $1.1 million investment attracted another $7.7 million in funding from governments and trusts.
“Feedback on the project from funding partners, key stakeholders, patrons and other user groups has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said.
“Although some work remains to be done to bed down the operation there is no doubt that it will become and remain the benchmark facility for regional performing arts in Victoria.”
The project was monitored by city infrastructure director Peter Robertson and a project control group incorporating council officers including Ms Mason, Cr Andrew Fawcett and a representative of Arts Victoria. A 13-member community consultation panel also kept an eye on the progress.
Six progress reports were sent to the federal government and two to the state government plus annual reports will be sent to Canberra for the next five years and to the state for the next two years.
Ms Mason said no decision had been made on what to do with the surplus cash.
Cr Michael Neoh said the project had been put together over more than three council terms. “It’s a win for the community and finishes a great cultural and education precinct,” he said.