The Mirror News

Bright future for multi-use stadium

FOSTER Stadium is the home of basketball and group fitness training in Foster, a meeting place for the Prom Coast University of the Third Age (U3A), and much more.

The Foster Stadium Feasibility Study, due to be presented to South Gippsland Shire Council today (Wednesday), plans for a future in which the stadium’s many current user groups are well looked after and new user groups are made to feel welcome.

Where some might see conflict, the study sees the usage mix of sporting and U3A activities as supporting the longer term viability of the stadium. Combined, the user groups present a force to be reckoned with when it comes to consideration for funding.

With U3A activities predominantly held during the day, and sports activities mostly after school and at weekends, the user groups are largely complementary. The same large well-lit stadium floor can be used for dance and exercise classes by day and sports activities in the afternoon and evening.

The Foster Stadium Feasibility Study was prepared to provide guidance and specific direction for the development of the stadium over the next 10 years. Prepared by consultants ‘Hands on Community Solutions,’ following a lengthy period of consultation, it supports the work already undertaken in the Foster Showgrounds Master Plan that was completed by the same consultancy in 2013. The upgrade of the stadium was identified as the most important project of the Master Plan.

Some of the projects listed in the Master Plan have already been completed, including an electrical upgrade and new court lighting, which included environmental and power saving initiatives.

The need for the feasibility project stemmed from the additional detail and costings required to improve the stadium. The report contains detailed plans and costings.

The Showgrounds are managed by the Foster Showgrounds Committee of Management (COM) on behalf of the shire council, which owns the land. It is this committee’s president, Deb Allott, and secretary, Deb Eales, who will present the feasibility study to Council today.

As well as the Foster Basketball Association, the Hard Work Cafe Gym and the U3A, the stadium is used by the Showgrounds COM for meetings, the Promontory Home and Produce Craft Market for market administration and meetings, the Foster Football Netball Club, the Foster Badminton Club and local school groups.

The report focuses on individual stadium improvements already identified in the Master Plan. It does not consider a duplication of the court facilities. Following an assessment already undertaken in the Master Plan and because the demand has not changed, the stadium will remain as a single court facility.

In their report the management committee give top priority to improving storage in the stadium. The report proposes making better use of the space taken up by the stadium seating, which represents a potential massive 25 cubic metres of storage or almost a room measuring 3mx3mx3m completely full. It is proposed to demolish the existing stadium seating and recycle as much material as possible. The seating would be reframed to the original footprint to free up space for lockers and storage trolleys.

Upgrades to the male change room and accessible toilets with baby change facilities are also considered priorities. Various options are outlined in the study.

Next priority is given to upgrading the foyer. The current entry foyer is shared by all users. It is small, unsigned and quite basic. It has an automatic glass sliding door and a ramped concrete floor and there is no room for seating in the small waiting area. The report sets out several options, at various costs, for improving the foyer.

Other improvements considered as part of the study include:

  • Basketball court run-off distances compliance;
  • Exterior building beautification works;
  • Car parking and pedestrian access;
  • A safe room for counting money.

The committee considers that the projects should be implemented in the order they have indicated unless funding opportunities become available to better support other project areas. The committee is hoping for a good hearing from Council, which is one of the main sources of funding through its Community Grants Program.


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