Construction of Eureka Stadium’s grandstand is expected to start as early as next week under local firm Nicholson Construction.
The new stadium will have 5000 undercover seats, giving the grounds a total capacity for more than 11,000 spectators.
Nicholson Construction was announced as the project’s contractor at a sod turning on Friday, three days after the contract was presented to Ballarat Council.
The state election promise to host AFL games at the grounds by 2017 is running on an “ambitious timeline”, Ballarat City Mayor Des Hudson said.
The company will spend 75 per cent of the contract sum – $14 million – in Ballarat and is projected to create 38 jobs in construction.
“Yes it’s ambitious timelines, we know we have to have this completed by the 27th of May next year to fulfill the fixturing requirements with the AFL but we know that guarantee will be there and we will have a first class facility,” Mr Hudson said.
The next stage of the project will involve upgrading stadium seating, a video and electronic scoreboard and change rooms and match-day facilities to AFL standard.
The oval has already been dug up and reoriented 32 degrees and VFL standard lights were installed in March this year.
Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said the stadium would need the tick of approval from the AFL by August or September.
“It’s not that far away at all that we’ll know the dates of our games so there’s been a lot of working going on here at a furious pace from five minutes after the election.
“It was a project that probably wouldn’t have been served well by significant delay at any point, this isn’t a project that will be finished when it’s finished.”
Ms Pulford said the facility was “a fair bit more than a football field”.
“There’s so much more to this than the stadium and the AFL game and enormous benefit to the clubs who play here all the time.
“But that depth in the local economy and the way that Nicholson’s will be sourcing people and material skills means it’s a fair bit more than a football field.”