THE MUCH anticipated construction of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct is progressing well, with the Stage One indoor stadium taking shape at a rapid rate ahead of its scheduled completion later this year.Yesterday the ‘Weekly joined a tour of the facility with the Victorian Government’s Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Danielle Green, who was in Mildura to inspect the project first hand. In last year’s State Budget, the remaining $10 million required to complete the precinct to its full specifications was allocated to the project, much to the delight of the Mildura Rural City Council. The more than $44 million project, is jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments, Council and sporting code stakeholders. The jewell in the crown of the sporting precinct will be the AFL standard oval, which is expected to be completed and ready in time for the 2022 SFNL pre-season and hopes are that an AFL game will be played in the future on the ground. Minister Green said her first impression of the sporting precinct was very impressive. “It is just stunning and it is just so exciting to see the project under way,” she said. “Council and local member Ali Cupper have been lobbying the State Government for sometime and talking about this as a dream. “To be able to see this now is wonderful, and I’m delighted that the Victorian Government’s $13.75 million dollars contribution to this project will enable the 19 sporting clubs and associations across the board to be able use this complex. “As Council have said, it won’t just be a sporting facility, it can hold trade shows and functions and it will be a huge draw card for tournaments. Mildura’s weather is just fantastic and the tri-state location is ideal. “Richmond Football Club having an academy here is exciting and Cricket Victoria and Australia have put funding into this project as well, which will see T20 games played here. “I grew up here in Mildura and I played netball at Mansell Reserve on grass, basketball down in Eighth Street in a very shabby shed, and so to have facilities like this is something the community can be really proud of.” Mildura Rural City Council manager of Leisure and Cultural Services Kate Henschke said that the complex was a first class facility for the region which will create opportunities for major future events. “In terms of a regional sporting facility it is right up there with the best available and its tri-state proximity to South Australia and NSW, and the ability to leverage that with some really exciting events and competitions once the facility is open is wonderful,” she said. Stage One, which is due for completion in the middle of this year, of the project includes a two storey stadium, the ground floor of which, will comprise six sports courts, changerooms, foyer, reception, administration offices, public amenities, storage and spectator seating, café/kiosk. The second floor will house function rooms, social/club rooms, public amenities and storage. AFL-standard oval with a cricket turf wicket and light towers (500 lux capacity) will allow for night competitions to be played. Four outdoor netball courts and competition lighting will also be built. A stand alone pavilion, featuring coach and timekeepers box, changerooms for umpires and players, public amenity, storage for outdoor sports and a canteen/kiosk together with external amenities, including sealed car parking, drainage, pathways and landscaping will complete stage one. Works on the Pavilion are well advanced, with the balance of items including flooring, painting and electrical and plumbing fit off are scheduled for completion in the next six to eight weeks. The main stadium court halls are also well advanced, with sporting equipment installed in December last year and the sports courts are due to proceed early this year. The roofing to the Level 1 Function and social rooms works got under way this month. The Ground floor reception/admin foyer area is now fitted with electrical and plumbing and wall linings will commence being constructed shortly. Turf for the oval will be installed by end of January, with a 12-week establishment program to follow. The oval will then require careful maintenance as it continues to consolidate growth and establish the playing surface ready for the 2022 season. Stage Two of the project, which is planned to get under way in the latter part of this year, includes a sports hub for administration, squash courts with umpire viewing, a second oval with associated changerooms and amenities, a sealed car park expansion and landscaping improvements.