The state government in Queensland, Australia has approved a new masterplan for Ballymore Stadium, which has been nominated as a host venue when Brisbane stages the summer Olympic Games in 2032.
Ballymore Stadium has a capacity of 18,000 and is home to the Queensland Reds rugby union team. The redevelopment plans call for a series of upgrades at the stadium itself and across the wider Ballymore site.
It is hoped the plans will transform Ballymore into a high-performance sports and wellbeing precinct that hosts two Olympic sports – rugby and sport climbing.
Work on a new A$30m (£15.9m/€19.1m/$21.9m) National Rugby Training Centre and a new McLean Stand at the stadium will begin in February. The training centre will serve as the national headquarters of women’s rugby and the national Wallaroos team, as well as a new elite training base for the Reds.
The new McLean Stand will be integrated into the training centre and will have a capacity of 3,010. The wider plans for the site also include a swim school and a centre of excellence for sport climbing, which made its Olympic debut during last year’s Games in Tokyo.
The Queensland Rugby Union has also secured approval from the government to build three new buildings on the site, with a total of 5,000 square metres to be reserved for sports administration, sports recreation, allied health and sports medicine.
The precinct will also include a boulder climbing area, public parkland and viewing area, revitalised parks and barbeque areas.
QRU chief executive David Hanham said: “We see Ballymore as the centre of Brisbane’s silicon valley of sport and well-being – a place where Olympians can train and compete in a world-class facility.
“The ability to generate an income from parts of Ballymore means we can offset the almost A$1m annual cost of maintaining the precinct – putting that money back into our core business – grassroots rugby and the Queensland Reds.
“There has already been significant interest from allied health providers to be part of the Ballymore, which is only a short walk from the Herston Quarter health precinct. We are also in discussions for a 25m swim school pool and what we think will be the Olympic Centre of Excellence for Sport Climbing.
“Ballymore has been nominated as an Olympic venue and while there is still significant work to be done, the approval of the masterplan is a first step towards that goal. With the growth of women’s and men’s elite sport and community sport, Ballymore can provide a cost-effective and central venue option for Brisbane, as well as continuing to be the home of our Hospital Cup finals and community game.”
Ballymore Stadium will become the first Brisbane Olympic venue to commence construction when work begins on the project next month.
Brisbane was approved as the host of the 2032 Olympics in July last year.
Image: Queensland Reds