Female sport in Wodonga is set for a huge boost with the opening of a new $750,000 pavilion at Les Cheesley Oval.
Keys to the facility were handed over this week, providing a timely boost for Wodonga Cricket Club with the new season just two weeks away.
Wodonga Saints and Wodonga Junior Football Club will also benefit from the investment which has made the venue accessible to more people than ever before.
"It's extremely significant because it replaces a facility that was built in 1970," cricket club treasurer and project leader Peter Willcox said.
"It's a milestone point in time because it enables the club to truly invite all comers, to invest in female sport and it enables the junior footy club to also enhance its female football program.
"We have been running an All Abilities program for the last couple of years and this means we've now got proper facilities for all which we didn't have before."
Alongside the new function room, canteen and officials' rooms, it's the layout of the changing facilities which will prove a real game-changer.
"We're able to now dip our toe in the water of female participation because all the rooms are set up to AFL and Cricket Australia specification," Dogs president Byron Hales said.
"They have segregated showers and toilets, there's no open space, so it's all private quarters in the bathroom areas.
"It's all set up for females because that's an area we'd like to get into and develop and start to grow the club that way.
"We've got a strong interest in it and we've seen through Danny Cohen's work with the Wodonga junior footy club, he's setting the standard with the participation of girls in that area.
"We'd like to follow in his footsteps with the cricket club."
ALSO IN SPORT
Willcox worked closely with former president Brad Andrews on the project, which received $500,000 in funding from the Victorian Government and $200,000 from the Federal Government.
The cricket club, football clubs and council contributed the remaining $50,000 between them.
"The old building was red brick, cramped and it inhibited a lot of participation," Willcox said.
"We've gone to a 400 square-metre facility with rubber flooring so it's suitable for metal spikes and it's not slippery in winter for footballers.
"We're able to open up the whole area with concertina doors so that will enable it to be better used by the community.
"If there's a community function or the council needs it for an emergency, such as accommodation in the event of a bushfire, it's really designed as a very multi-purpose facility."
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