By Derek Schlennstedt

 After nine long years, the brand new Upwey Tecoma Community Sporting Pavilion facility is on the brink of completion.
On March 2, two weeks before the pavilions grand opening, the ‘Mail’ toured the new and improved venue with Project Manager, Chris Clerici who showed-off the pavilions impressive view of the football ground.
With two unisex change rooms, a large multipurpose room, gym, canteen, three meeting rooms, elevator, and of course a bar the new pavilion “is not just for the cricket and footy players, it’s for everyone,” said Mr Clerici.
“We’re trying to promote female sport so showers and toilets are unisex and can be used by bother genders … We also make these building fully accessible for wheelchair users and people with special needs,” he said.
Yarra Ranges Council has been working closely with the Upwey-Tecoma Community Recreational and Sporting Hub group (UTCRASH) in the design of the building which has included an impressive gas fire, and rock face wall – perfect for winter games.
“We’re hoping to get this building completed in about a week and a half … it will be a real home,” said Mr Clerici
That home is set to become so cosy that during the tour, one member of the UTCRASH group joked that members might not want to leave.
“They still need to go home Chris,” a member joked as she was shown the impressive range of facilities.
Of course, the view was of much anticipation and certainly did not disappoint offering a panoramic view of the football field which Chris noted was one of the best in the Yarra Ranges.
“Have a look at that view because I reckon you’ve got one of the best views,” Mr Clerici said.
The new 3.6 million, two story Community, recreation and sporting pavilion will provide the Upwey and Tecoma communities with a modern and well-designed facility which suits the needs of 23 groups and clubs who will utilise the space.
The Bendigo Community Bank contributed $250,000 of the $3.6 million and the community provided cash and in-kind assistance of another $250,000.
Yarra Ranges Council contributed $1.1 million and another $1 Million was contributed through the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund as well as another $500,000 from State Government’s Community Facilities Funding Program.
The Federal Government’s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development also contributed $500,000 through its Australian Government’s Community Development Grants program.
Though the facilities grand opening is only two weeks away, Andrew Peterson, Chairman of UTCRASH said it had been an extremely long journey to reach this point.
“It’s been a lot of volunteer work, by a lot of people over a long long time,” Mr Peterson said.
“There’s been a lot of sacrifices made, and it is so rewarding to now see a quality end result like this, it’s been a marathon effort to get us here.
“The main thing was to provide a lot of local groups with a home, we’ve got Taekwondo, the cricket association, the two schools, the bowling club, tennis club, football, cricket, netball, U3A, Probis … they will all be using the building on a regular basis.”
“That’s been one of the driving things for us, to have a true community facility.”
A true community facility is exactly what the community is getting as many clubs and groups are able to hire out the building and use its facilities for meetings and event’s
When asking members who took the tour what their highlights were, all agreed that it was a brilliant building and an immense improvement on the previous one.
“Not only is it a new building, but it feels like a new era,” Leanne Peterson said.
“Women’s football is starting, the netball is growing and it’s going to be really exciting for so many different groups of the community… it’s for the whole community to really enjoy and be proud of and become part of something.”
The public will be able to see the fantastic new building at it’s grand opening on 24 March at 2:30pm.

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