Hectorville Sports and Community Club upgrade
Hectorville Sports and Community Club, South Australia
Creating a suitable space for a growing community
Hectorville, a small suburb less than 10 kilometres from Adelaide’s city centre, is experiencing a surge. Young families are moving in to enjoy its quiet, leafy locale and strong community vibe. This growth is nowhere more apparent than at Hectorville Sports and Community Club, which was built in 1964 and now packed to the rafters.
“We’ve had an influx of families move back into the area and they’re looking for sports clubs,” says Christian McCormack, Junior Football Chairman at Hectorville Sports and Community Club. “We share the facilities with a single clubroom for netball, cricket, tennis and football. Projected growth in our area means we’ll have even more children playing these sports.”
The club has seen increased interest in netball and tennis as the suburb continues to grow. But much of the growth has come from junior girls’ football, which has been a big hit since first introduced in 2016.
It was a directive from the South Australian National Football League that spawned the competition but Hectorville jumped at the opportunity. Before then, any girls who wanted to play football were playing with boys. It’s little surprise that the club went from having a single female player to nearly 100 in three years.
Hectorville now has ambitious plans for its female football competition, including expanding the newly created under-16s team, creating an under-18s by 2020 and a women’s team by 2021. The current facilities weren’t designed for female players and aren’t suitable for expansion.
“Our current changing rooms are 40 years old. They’re communal showers, which aren’t appropriate for boys, let alone women,” says Christian. “The toilets are basically a urinal and a cubicle stuck in the middle of the room. It’s not very private.
“You can get away with dodgy change rooms at a certain level because younger girls tend to rock up already in their uniform. But if we want to start introducing older girls, as is our growth plan, we need an appropriate, private facility.”
The need for an upgrade was confirmed by a SA NFL Facility Audit Report for Daly Oval, the football grounds used by Hectorville Sports and Community Club. This ranked player change-rooms at 36% and umpire change rooms at just 12%.
Knowing how critical an upgrade was to its viability as a community venue, the club decided to apply for a Community Sport Infrastructure grant.
“Without the grant, we wouldn’t have been in the financial position to improve the club – we couldn’t even investigate it as an option,” says Christian. “The new facility will solve all of our problems. This is a long-term solution for the next 30 to 40 years.”
Bringing communities together
The grant will be used to build new, unisex change rooms so that all players have a space to get ready before and after games. Importantly, this includes other facilities such as a massage and strapping room, disabled bathrooms and a first-aid room. The umpire’s facilities will also be revamped, with two new rooms for female and male use, with an individual shower and toilet.
As part of a wider expansion beyond the grant, the club is hoping to create a space that works for all the sports held at the venue. This includes a balcony looking onto the netball and tennis courts to provide a better spectator experience. Currently, parents and friends bring their own chairs and sit on the perimeter if they want to watch the games, because the club rooms only face the football oval.
While the practical benefits of the new facility are clear, the social and community aspect is key for the club. Research commissioned by the AFL and conducted by La Trobe University found that for every $1 spent on a community club, at least $4.40 is returned in social value.
The new space will realise this benefit more fully. The facility will also boast new community meeting spaces, making it easier for teams to socialise after games.
“We’ll have a much bigger space,” says Christian. “This will make it easier to have presentation nights, or separate meeting spaces. Previously, if it was being used for a function, the clubroom was essentially shut off. We’ll have much more flexible space now.
“It’s going to be such a big thing for us. We’ve held presentation nights at the club where we’ve shown the community the plans and taken them through what it will look like. They’re already excited.”