Eureka Stadium (Mars Stadium)

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Sadly that big empty block is privately owned by property speculators who are sitting on the land waiting for the price to go up. It is private property. The Ballarat Council did offer them $4 million for it two years ago with a view to developing the land mainly for more sports fields. In particular to develop a new regional hockey centre and to allow for extension of the nearby basketball centre. There are plans to build a new car park off Howitt Street to compliment the new athletics centre. What the precinct desperately needs is the train platform over the road which the council and various key stakeholders in Ballarat have been advocating for since the stadium was first proposed. I would argue that the stadium needs better lighting and the train platform before it needs new grandstands. But what do I know? Back in 2015 the original long-term development plan was to build a large carpark on the eastern side of the rail line along Norman Street which would be about 600 metres walking distance to the stadium. That land is still all empty and there are no plans for any development along it at this point in time.

I totally agree that the stadium ought not be expanded in capacity until they sort out where and how all the patrons are going to park or come up with a better alternative means for them to get to and from the stadium (i.e. Trains).
That train platform would be a game changer too. I was really impressed on my first visit that Ballarat has this stadium and hopefully in the future they can make it a real feature walking from your car or train through the precinct.
 
Roogal what do you think of the design ?


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I am not 100% sure whether they are quite appropriate for Ballarat. They will be very cold and exposed in Winter IMO. I didn't have a problem with the original Peddle Thorp designed stand on the Western side of the oval. With its cantilever roof design and geometric pattern back wall, it provides better cover from the rain and wind. The design of the new stands doesn't look that original to me. They are very reminiscent of Adelaide Oval.

I didn't at first understand why they have designed two stands side by side when one single large stand would have occupied a smaller area. I have thought this one through and looking at the diagram above I would say that it is done this way so that in the future the Eastern Stand can be easily modified to visually match the new pair and create symetry on the Eastern side of the ground if any future stadium expansion is to occur. Because of the split level design on the new stands, the design can be easily incorporated into any future addition of seating rows on the Eastern Stand and incorporate the same roof design above any seating additions.

It must be noted that the Western Stand on the other side of the oval was a compromise with its roof design from the beginning because it was not permtted to be too high as to cast a shadow over the houses immediately behind in White Avenue during the mornings. So the original design was significantly modified to have the cantilevered roof and rounded back. Accordingly, it was given a height limit of just 17 metres at its highest point, which is the roof line around the boundary.

It appears that the high points of the new roofs will be about 25 metres which may even allow for mounting of some additional ground lighting.
 
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I am not 100% sure whether they are quite appropriate for Ballarat. They will be very cold and exposed in Winter IMO. I didn't have a problem with the original Peddle Thorp designed stand on the Western side of the oval. With its cantilever roof design and geometric pattern back wall, it provides better cover from the rain and wind. The design of the new stands doesn't look that original to me. They are very reminiscent of Adelaide Oval.
Someone's definitely been in the Adelaide Oval western stands, surprised they didn't add some ivy vines at the back while they're at it.
 
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I have thought this one through and looking at the diagram above I would say that it is done this way so that in the future the Eastern Stand can be easily modified to visually match the new pair and create symetry on the Eastern side of the ground if any future stadium expansion is to occur. Because of the split level design on the new stands, the design can be easily incorporated into any future addition of seating rows on the Eastern Stand and incorporate the same roof design above any seating additions.
I think so. The bottom split level of the two new stands appears to more or less match the pitch and number of rows to the northern Stand (8 to 9 rows). With the roof of the northern largely being demountable and not fixed to the 8 to 9 rows, it's an easy convert to a third or 4th 2,500 seater if they can squeeze it in between the boundary and Creswick Rd.
 
I think so. The bottom split level of the two new stands appears to more or less match the pitch and number of rows to the northern Stand (8 to 9 rows). With the roof of the northern largely being demountable and not fixed to the 8 to 9 rows, it's an easy convert to a third or 4th 2,500 seater if they can squeeze it in between the boundary and Creswick Rd.
The image below shows the original steel skeleton print for the existing portions of the stadium. You are right, the roof over the Eastern Stand was designed to be very easily removed by unbolting the rear ground posts (illustrated in the second image below) and cutting off the inner supports. As part of the redevelopment the of the first two lower post sections will be removed in order to allow a clear sight line from the top of the nearest of the new stands.

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Image source: Kingfield Steel

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The image above shows the original concrete backing and the roof footings behind the Eastern Stand during the early stages of the construction. The inner posts that support the roof are visible.

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Simply removing the rear concrete and replacing with a reduced height concrete slab and cutting off the posts would facilitate the addition of a pedestrian path behind the first eight rows of seats and building up the next rows of seat terrace from there. The seat terrace on that portion of the ground would need to be raised so as to provide clearance above the existing Gate 1 and kiosk structure.
I can indeed foresee that over time, that as this stadium evolves, and the City of Ballarat puts its own flourishes to it and the roadway and railway accesses are developed that it will well become one of Australia's favorite regional stadiums. It will indeed be boutique, but favored because of the intimacy that spectators will feel with games and performances. Anybody who has sat in the existing stands at the ground since 2017 will tell you how close and engaged that you feel to the field of performance or play because of its steep pitch of its seats. You only have to be sitting a few rows back and yet you will have a better view of play than sitting 15 rows back from the boundary at the MCG. This stadium has a lot of potential to be something special not only to the AFL, but potentially 20/20 cricket and other stadium events.
 
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It would be good that the AFL looks at one of the home Dogs games there to play one of the Adelaide teams. In the early 2000's a lot of Port fans would stay in Ballarat before finals and it would make more sense if the AFL could schedule the game for Saturday afternoon or night so fans from Adelaide could do a weekender and travel down on the Saturday stay overnight and back on Sunday (maybe on a long weekend) Although there might be a few superfans from Gold Coast and GWS who are prepared to make the trek via Melbourne at least Adelaide fans could drive or coach it directly to Ballarat
It does have a lot of potential for winter and summer sports. They really need to get up near 25k capacity to really make it viable and attract bigger games and events.
 
It would be good that the AFL looks at one of the home Dogs games there to play one of the Adelaide teams. In the early 2000's a lot of Port fans would stay in Ballarat before finals and it would make more sense if the AFL could schedule the game for Saturday afternoon or night so fans from Adelaide could do a weekender and travel down on the Saturday stay overnight and back on Sunday (maybe on a long weekend) Although there might be a few superfans from Gold Coast and GWS who are prepared to make the trek via Melbourne at least Adelaide fans could drive or coach it directly to Ballarat
It does have a lot of potential for winter and summer sports. They really need to get up near 25k capacity to really make it viable and attract bigger games and events.
Night games there would need to be scheduled very early in the season because of travel for fans and avoiding the Winter cold. The lighting there needs to be boosted threefold. I don't think that a lighting upgrade is to be included as part of the latest works. Adelaide will likely play there next year, although capacity might be reduced due to construction works and the associated removal of the main hill. It would be helpful if the council can arrange for a temporary 4000 seat scaffold stand to be placed at the scoreboard end while construction works are underway.

I doubt the ground will ever hold 25K. Looking at the images for the new works I'm reckoning on its 2026 capacity to become 13500, or about the same as Canberra's Manuka Oval. Mars Stadium may have future expansion potential by the rearward extension of the Eastern Stand above Gate 1 which would add another 2000 seats, and the construction of a permanent 4000 seat stand at the existing Showgrounds end. That would create a 16000 seater. Anything beyond that would require complete demolition and redvelopment of the North Ballarat Sports Club. The club facility was first completed in 1991 and progressively expanded throughout the 90s.

That said, I am reckoning that post 2026 that any significant works in the precinct will involve new light towers and the train platform in the vicinity of the Norman Street rail crossing. In time the Midland Highway to get widened from 2030. That's my best guess. There are many other higher priority projects begging for funding in Ballarat such as the Duplication of Dyson Drive, a new airport access road and the next stage of the airport's runway upgrade to name but a few.
 
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A fair proportion of Ballarat wouldn't mind North Ballarat club getting bulldozed 😀
Don't see a problem with night games after a lighting upgrade. Scheduling games earlier in the year wouldn't make much difference re the cold , it's always freaking cold in Ballarat at night in the winter (tends to be less windy than during the day).
Ballarat council need to attract five or six major events to the stadium each year and the business case for a basic platform at the stadium would be easy. Mind you we are talking about the Ballarat city council....
 
A fair proportion of Ballarat wouldn't mind North Ballarat club getting bulldozed 😀
Don't see a problem with night games after a lighting upgrade. Scheduling games earlier in the year wouldn't make much difference re the cold , it's always freaking cold in Ballarat at night in the winter (tends to be less windy than during the day).
Ballarat council need to attract five or six major events to the stadium each year and the business case for a basic platform at the stadium would be easy. Mind you we are talking about the Ballarat city council..
Good points. Getting better lighting at the stadium is still high on the council's priorities. After that horror Port Adelaide game back in July 2018 when Ballarats weather threw everything at the game and the supplementary lighting proved completely ineffective, the then Mayor Samantha McIntosh acknowledged the total ineffectiveness of the lighting and said "that any future upgrades of the ground must incorporate improved lighting". In February 2022 the Council published and released a document to the State and Federal governments and also opposition candidates (prior to the elections) called "Ballarat Projects of Advocacy". The document itemised 25 major projects (with forecast costs) that Ballarat was seeking government assistance. The document listed a requirement to replace the four existing light towers at Eureka Stadium with four 50m tall light towers with LED lighting and an output of 1000 lux for a project cost of $3.5 million. They knew exactly what they wanted and how much it would cost based upon recent lighting projects for the Ikon Park and the VUWO.

Definitely the lighting and a big stand at the Southern (old showgrounds) end of the ground to block those strong Winter Southerlies would transform the place and certainly boost atmosphere as well as broadening the game scheduling flexibility as you have stated.
 
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