$58 million revamp for Whitten Oval
The Western Bulldogs have revealed plans for stage two of the Whitten Oval redevelopment, which includes a new EJ Whitten Stand and lighting.
The Victorian Government on Sunday announced they'll contribute $36.6 million to the $58 million project which will transform the precinct into a centrepiece of Melbourne’s west - as the home of an elite sports club and a common place for the community.
Documents were previously lodged with Maribyrnong Council by planning consultant Urbis, on behalf of the AFL club, which detailed the stage two works which - to be split into two parts.
The venue currently hosts pre-season AFL, AFLW, VFL and VFLW matches, while Western United played an A-League game at the ground last season and is expected to play more there in the future. Currently, temporary lighting is required to boost the lux level for televised events.
A masterplan for the precinct was revealed back in May 2019 for a $150 million redevelopment of the West Footscray venue to return lower-drawing AFL games to the club’s traditional home by 2024, with a capacity of 18,000.
Features of this phase of the upgrade include the construction of a new three-level 1500-seat EJ Whitten Stand to replace the existing grandstand, including new change rooms and function space overlooking the ground, plus new broadcast-quality lighting.
The playing field will be resurfaced, re-sized and regraded, while the berms and terracing on the eastern and southern side of the ground will be improved and regraded. A new match day pavilion will also be constructed, providing permanent food and beverage and public toilets.
The existing foyer will be refurbished, and a new club museum built, while the existing advanced performance centre will be expanded, with new player and staff parking added behind it.
Part two of the works include relocation and integration of the AFLW change room facilities, a new indoor training field, additional landscaping works and a translucent canopy on the western façade.
The council is due to make a decision on the club’s application by November 19, while the club hopes construction can commence by mid-2021.
The Whitten Oval precinct redevelopment was initially made possible by a valuable parcel of land at the Geelong Road end of the precinct, which was transferred to the Club to enable a larger overall footprint to be developed.
The Victorian Government initially allocated $5 million towards stage one of the redevelopment, which was completed in February last year, included the upgrading of women’s football facilities and a new video scoreboard, while a further $1 million was allocated to the creation of detailed plans for future stages.
Meanwhile, the Essendon Football Club has received $6.28 million in State Government funding to complete the second stage of a $21 million development at its training base in Tullamarine.
AFLW and community facilities are the focus of the new development at The Hangar, with the club hoping to enter a team in the AFL Women’s competition as soon as 2022.
The stage will see the building of three unisex change-rooms, along with one dedicated AFLW changeroom, women's medical, meeting and matchday facilities, a function centre and a women's community education hub and health clinic.