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Digging...construction manager Ian Shanks takes the latest step towards the planned improvements to Gore’s St James Theatre

Ian Shanks has broken ground towards a long awaited project in Gore.

The construction manager dug down through the floor of the St James Theatre foyer late last month and made another hole in the alleyway outside to check the building’s foundations.

It was a necessary step towards the planned improvements for 85-year old-theatre, consisting of a lift installation, seismic strengthening and an upgrade to the women’s bathroom.

“This [is] so we can get a building consent to do the lift,” Mr Shanks said.

“The engineers will confirm everything for seismic strengthening, then we can go for a building consent.”

The improvements had been in the pipeline for several years and relied on donations and grants to progress.

“We’ve not quite got all the funding yet but we’re getting very close.

“We’ve been trying to get this sorted.”

St James Theatre Trust chairman Craig McIntyre said he was happy with the latest progress on the project.

“It’s a good thing,” Mr McIntyre said.

However, it would take time for construction work to begin, he said.

“We’re working towards doing the build now starting in January 2022.”

This was because the build could not begin until funding for the project was fully secured.

About $690,000 had been set as a fundraising target.

“We still haven’t secured all the money, so that’s a concern.

“Once [the project is] at consent stage, which should be within the month, we’ll have a better idea of how much money we’re short of.”