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$42.5 million project set to transform the VCA

Monday, 24 February 2014
A new $42.5 million expansion of The University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) will add another jewel to the crown in Melbourne’s world-renowned arts precinct, Premier Denis Napthine said today.
Dr Napthine said the massive redevelopment would be the largest in the history of the VCA.
This project will not only create new facilities and visual arts studios for students studying at the VCA, it will also deliver vibrant new spaces for public events, performances and exhibitions.
“Fresh from the enormous success of the White Night Festival, this expansion will further cement Melbourne and Victoria’s reputation as the arts, culture and events capital of Australia,” Dr Napthine said.
“Our arts precinct is renowned as being one of the very best in the world with on the highest concentrations of top-class venues including the Arts Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company, Hamer Hall, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Recital Centre all located within a stone’s throw of one another.
“With our famous sporting precinct located just across the Yarra River it is easy to see why Victoria is the envy of all other states when it comes to major arts, cultural and sporting events.”
The VCA expansion will be made possible by relocating the Mounted Branch of the Victoria Police from the old Dodds Street stables to a new fit-for-purpose facility at its existing Atwood site.
Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria said the project is an important step in the long-term vision to revitalise the Melbourne arts precinct – and was outlined as a key project in the recently released Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint.
“Since 2011, the Arts Precinct Working Group, led by renowned architect Yvonne von Hartel, has been working with a range of stakeholders to formulate a vision for the future of the precinct,” Ms Victoria said.
“This VCA project is an important development for Melbourne, and the Victorian Government looks forward to working with stakeholders at all levels, to ensure the area can realise its full potential in future.”
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the project would be a major boost to the VCA and arts precinct in Melbourne and would further open the college campus to the community.
“The arts and our cultural heritage are such important attributes to both the university and the City of Melbourne,” Professor Davis said. 
“We are delighted that this initiative will add to the cultural vitality of our city and will provide a valuable, creative learning hub for tomorrow’s leading artists.” 
The project is supported by the Victorian Coalition Government, the University of Melbourne, the VCA and philanthropic bodies including the Myer Foundation and the Ian Potter Foundation.
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