Ipswich show goers will be able to enjoy new and improved facilities next year as the Ipswich Showgrounds stage one refurbishment comes to a close this month.
The Ipswich Show Society will step into the future in May 2020 at the annual Ipswich Show as the location takes a step away from the outdated and rundown buildings show goers would be familiar with.
The first stage of a $65 million vision to refurbish the showgrounds included $6.5 million of Federal Government funding to expand and improve the existing exhibition display pavilion and main trade pavilion.
Construction works carried out on the exhibition display pavilion began earlier this year and included a 16m x 8m extension, better animal welfare spaces as well as new retaining walls, stairs, ramps, doors, windows and amenities block with a laundry.
The main trade pavilion received a new over-roof insulation, commercial kitchen, first aid rooms, passenger lift, storage facilities, offices, doors and windows as well as a plaza roof connecting the two buildings together.
Ipswich Show Society, Ipswich City Council staff, Condev Construction crew and local politicians after touring stage one’s new facilities.
Project manager Richard Ernst said the upgrades will make the buildings more inviting with visitors able to enjoy the comfort of shaded areas around the site and air-conditioned spaces.
“Condev Construction have created an overhead structure for additional shaded area and it’s made deliberately high so there’s cross ventilation to make the area more useable,” he said.
“In the past it was a hot tin shed, no insulation and no air-conditioning, so we’ve made it more insulated and comfortable.”
The Ipswich Showgrounds Reception Centre is currently in place as refuge during emergency events however completion of stage one of the project will allow space for more than 300 people as well as provide improved facilities in the interim with the vision of a larger evacuation centre to be developed next year.
“It’s a great project for Ipswich and great support for the town and it’s been designed as an interim evacuation centre as well as a space for events and the Ipswich show,” Ipswich Show Society president Rusty Thomas said.
“The whole complex is for the benefit of the Ipswich people, there’s nothing like it in the Ipswich city area.”
Project manager Richard Ernst discussing the project details with Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann.
Ipswich Show Society vice-president Darren Zanow said the goal of the refurbishment is to put Ipswich on the map and draw more tourism to the region.
“This first stage will allow us to put our toe in the water and attract exhibitions and trade shows to the region,” Mr Zanow said.
“Albeit not on a big scale, but it will mean we start to get these types of events happening in Ipswich that would normally have gone to Brisbane or Toowoomba.”
Stage two of the project will include planning and detailed design approvals with the aim of being “shovel ready” by March 2020.
The Ipswich Show Society will apply for the remaining funding required to break ground on the new Ipswich Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICEC) and Emergency Evacuation Centre in the New Year.
The ICEC will boast a five storey building including the main exhibition level floor of 2,704m2 with meeting rooms, offices and emergency amenities as well as four levels of basement parking to hold up to 2,700 persons for events or emergency situations.
Artist’s impression for the vision of the Ipswich Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann said he was thrilled with the modern imprint the upgrades will have on the town.
“This is a great community project that will help the people of Ipswich, it’s brilliant,” he said.
“As someone who went through the flood in 1974 I think this is so important for Ipswich and the Ipswich Show Society has my full support with the project.”
The initial stage one upgrades provides residents with the option to hold functions and events such as conferences, graduations and weddings in the spaces.
Show goers will be able to experience the transformation themselves and take a step into the future in May 2020 at the annual Ipswich Show.