Premier Ted Baillieu today announced that work on a $55 million upgrade of the MCG's Great Southern Stand will start shortly after the AFL Grand Final following the appointment of Construction Engineering as the project builder.
The upgrade, funded by a $30 million contribution from the Victorian Government and $25 million from the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), will improve the patron experience across all four levels of the Great Southern Stand.
Joining MCC CEO Stephen Gough, MCG Trust Chairman John Wylie and AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou in making the announcement, Mr Baillieu and Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty also released plans for the upgrade and confirmed that the project would be completed prior to the start of the 2013 AFL season.
“The MCG is Australia’s greatest sports venue and a Victorian icon and has been recognised as one of the best sporting stadiums in the world,” Mr Baillieu said.
“More than 150,000 footy fans are expected to flock to the ground this weekend to watch their clubs battle it out in the preliminary finals and there is no better place to watch footy than at the 'G.
“It’s now been twenty years since the Great Southern Stand was built, and the time is right to get to work so the MCG continues to deliver more world-class sporting experiences,” he said.
Mr Delahunty said the MCG was the jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s magnificent sporting precinct.
“From the AFL Grand Final to the Boxing Day Test, the MCG is a Melbourne icon which is beamed to television audiences across the world,” Mr Delahunty said.
“The success of the MCG is vital to our reputation as a world-class sporting hub and that is why we’re proud to keep investing in this terrific stadium so that it can continue to be right up there with the world’s best.”
Plans for refurbishment of the stand, which was completed in 1992 in time for the World Cup cricket final, involve improved entry points at gates 4, 5, 6 and 7, with an emphasis on open, light spaces similar to the northern side of the stadium.
There will also be kitchen upgrades, improved food and beverage outlets (including food courts), new toilet facilities and upgrades to infrastructure services, audio-visual systems and signage.
The AFL Members Reserve will also be improved, with upgrades to several existing areas such as the Bunton, Wills and Legends rooms, as well as creation of a 500-seat function room on Level 2 which replaces nine corporate suites.
“The MCG is one of the premier sporting grounds in the world, and the home of Australian Football, and this year more than 2.8 million football supporters have been to AFL games at the ground,” AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said.
“We greatly appreciate the support of the Victorian Government and the MCC and in partnership we will continue to work to deliver the best possible facilities for sports fans,” Mr Demetriou said.
MCC CEO Stephen Gough said the funding again underlined the MCC’s commitment to ensuring the MCG remained one of the world’s finest multi-purpose stadiums.
“The MCC, through the continued financial support provided by our members, is committed to the ongoing development of this great ground that spans almost 160 years,” Mr Gough said.
“I acknowledge the strong support of the Victorian Government and the substantial effort of our partners at the AFL in achieving this outcome.”
Mr Wylie said the investment in improving the Great Southern Stand comes only five years after the completion of the $465 million northern stand redevelopment project and builds on the $22 million commitment to the current water recycling project and other improvements in Yarra Park.
“This is testament to the commitment of the Victorian Government, the MCG Trust and the MCC to the continuous development and improvement of the MCG to ensure it remains Australia’s best sporting stadium,” Mr Wylie said.
Construction Engineering, one of the largest and privately-owned building companies operating out of Victoria and Queensland, was awarded the contract after an extensive tender process.
Their most prominent large-scale projects include reconstruction of the VRC Birdcage Precinct, refurbishment of Melbourne Central and renovation of the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club clubhouse.