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'The Perfect Challenge' - Construction commences on Gallery Forbes

Tasked with the transformation of the former Forbes Ambulance Station, Regional West Constructions (RWC) considers the Forbes Cultural and Art Centre project “the perfect challenge”.

RWC Construction Manager Christian Gladdish said, “This project offers us a blend of old and new. An opportunity to restore a building with a lot of history, that has substantial damage was too good to turn down”.

“As a regional construction company, a project like this doesn’t come around too often. RWC are excited to give this building everything it needs for it to be around for the next 100 years,” Christian added.

While a heritage build comes with its unique set of challenges, the Bathurst-based construction company anticipate its biggest obstacle to be the national shortages of basic materials, such as timber, glass and steel.

To alleviate that issue, RWC will work closely with their regular suppliers to ensure a good supply stream and will engage local contractors to undertake over sixty percent of the works.

“We find from previous projects of this nature that there is an extra care factor and excitement about the chance to restore a building that has sat unusable for so long,” Christian said.

“Like any building that has structural damage, once this is made safe then the complexity reduces. Our team have experience working in heritage projects and where possible we back that up with trades that understand the nature of the work.”

With the preliminary works now complete, the next phase of the build is to install the new framing, structural walls and floors in line with the new Centre’s dynamic layout.

A key milestone of the build will be the delivery and installation of the feature spiral staircase which will be craned into the foyer via an opening in the roof.

Forbes Arts Society Chairperson Trudy Mallick said, “this is an exciting time, not only for the Forbes Arts Society but the whole community, to witness one of the town’s most iconic buildings being transformed.”

“What has been an eyesore for over two decades, will soon become a vibrant and welcoming space for locals and visitors to gather, connect and create.”

The Cultural and Arts Centre development is part of the $7.2 million ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’, funded by the NSW Government’s Restart NSW program through the Regional Growth, Environment and Tourism Development Fund, the Forbes Arts Society (FAS), Forbes Shire Council (FSC), Lachlan Shire Councils and Evolution Mining.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said he is pleased the funding can support local tourism while at the same time encouraging people from across the state to visit the Central West.

“Restoring and transforming the historic Forbes Ambulance Station into a new Cultural and Arts Centre is a big win for the local community, breathing life back into a beautiful building and turning it into a useful and unique attraction for locals and visitors alike.”

The ‘Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project’ aims to foster visual arts throughout the Forbes Shire, grow the visitor economy and promote the Lachlan Valley region as a premier tourism destination. The project also includes the extension of the Sculpture Down the Lachlan trail and the redevelopment of Gum Swamp reserve.

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