TAMWORTH Regional Council has just put the finishing touches on the designs of its $1.8-million observatory, with construction expected to start in the first half of next year.
With the plans complete, council aims to submit the development application for the Tamworth Regional Astronomy and Science Centre in late January.
Council’s infrastructure manager Murray Russell said a project team had met regularly with stakeholders since April to map out the design of the facility, which will be located in Victoria Park, next to the botanic gardens.
“There has been extensive consultation with stakeholders to progress the project and only yesterday we were able to finalise aspects of the design with Tamworth Regional Astronomy Club,” Mr Russell said.
“The club is very excited we can now put the finishing touches to the development application.”
It’s hoped the development application will be determined by March 2019, with preliminary construction work to start soon after. The project will be completed in several stages.
Tamworth Regional Astronomy Club member and Tamworth councillor Phil Betts said the development “was still on track” to be completed by the end of 2019.
“I’m very excited, not just for the astronomy movement the region, but for the educational benefits as well,” Cr Betts said.
“It will have a significant education component, which we believe will be used by students from all over the region.”
The final design includes a large observatory with a roll-off roof to house multiple medium to large telescopes and a smaller observatory with a roll-off roof to house a single large historic telescope.
There will also be a planetarium for presentations and lectures, along with a multi-functional space, an amenities building, a car park and utility infrastructure.
The government grant will cover the observatory's construction, while the astronomy club will look after the fit out.
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