TENDERS for the first stage of demolition of the Cowes Cultural and Community Centre close this Wednesday, May 13, with works expected to begin in late-July or August.

The centre’s main building, containing Bass Coast Shire Council and visitor information services, a gallery, meeting room and hall, will be vacated by June 30 to allow the successful contractor to clear the way for construction of a new $19 million facility, funded by council with help from a $10 million state government loan.

The design process for the new centre will get underway in June, with council planning to announce the successful architects in the coming weeks, and community and stakeholder consultation to follow.

Construction will commence in 2021 and is expected to take 12 to 14 months.

Stage two of demolitions, involving the existing Cowes Heritage Centre and library building, will not go out to tender until the new centre is complete.