By Evelyn Leckie
A NEW state-of-the-art Bendigo Bank building in Wallan is nearing completion, and expected to be functional by December.
The Wallan and District Community Bank building adjoins the Wallan Town Heart development in High Street, and will include a cafe, education providers and the office of Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell.
There will also be a board room, which will be available to community groups to use.
NorCen Financial Services manages the Wallan and Kilmore Community Bank branches, and Broadford Customer Service Centre, and its board is proud to deliver a unique, long-standing building which they hope will lead the way for future development in the Mitchell Shire.
With superior energy-saving features and eye-catching coloured glass, the double-storey building is already attracting plenty of attention in Wallan.
NorCen Financial Services director Terry Dobson said he was most excited about seeing the bank staff happy.
“It’ll be great seeing the staff happy, and it’ll be theirs to use – it’s built to last 100 years so the building will keep on giving,” Mr Dobson said.
A new café will feature at the front of the building, offering takeaway coffee and food, with seating in the courtyard.
“It’ll be nice to drive by on a sunny day and see the courtyard out the front of the office buzzing,” company secretary Sally Chadwick said.
Mr Dobson said many Mitchell Shire trades businesses were employed to work on the new building.
“The standard of workmanship on the site has been fantastic,” he said.
The building also incorporates Wallan’s history, including preserved and recycled elements from the previous newsagent that stood on the land, and timber and bricks from the 1850’s remodelled into the building.
“The new building looks over the historic ‘Free Library’ building, a building that was also built to last over 100 years,” Mr Dobson said.
“The recycled brickwork is modelled off the historic building across the road – so it’s really special.
“The community made the building happen – we’re very excited.”
Director David Wheeler said NorCen expected to have the building paid off within the next eight years, and would continue to provide grants to Mitchell Shire community groups and services in the meantime.
Mr Wheeler said the board expected to be able to increase its contribution to the community to even greater amounts following payment of the building’s loan.