Bulldogs Plan To Restore And Upgrade Whitten Oval Precinct
The Western Bulldogs have announced a master plan to restore the Whitten Oval precinct, in an effort to make it the centrepiece of Melbourne’s west.
By redeveloping the Whitten Oval precinct, the Western Bulldogs aim to make the venue a premier destination for AFLW but also see the potential of AFL matches returning to the historic venue.
Bulldogs CEO, Ameet Bains, said the plan reflects the Bulldogs’ commitment to developing as an elite sporting club for years to come.
“Our master plan reflects the club’s long-term vision of the Whitten Oval precinct as a hub for the west that attracts and connects our community to the football club and gives us the best chance of success on and off the field,” Mr Bains said.
“A redeveloped precinct will provide an amazing base for our four teams, and we expect the football facilities to be a huge drawcard for the club keeping and attracting star players.
“Our immediate focus is to improve the experience of watching football at the venue to ensure that VU Whitten Oval remains one of the key AFL priority venues for AFLW matches.
“This includes the rebuilding of the Whitten Stand with upgraded club facilities for football, administration and community, as well as dedicated function facilities overlooking the ground and the city.
“It will also involve a slightly re-oriented playing surface and broadcast lighting quality, something the AFL has committed to investing in, given it sees the ground as a model venue for AFLW matches, especially at night,” he said.
It is anticipated the next stage of redevelopment work is expected to cost between $40-$45 million, and will also include an increase of the spectator capacity of the VU Whitten Oval, creation of a renewed entry plaza and running track, the development of a secondary venue in Footscray for training purposes and enhancement of spectator amenities.
Within the long-term plan, the Bulldogs aim for Whitten Oval to be a secondary market location venue to host the occasional AFL heritage game.
“We would love to see the occasional heritage AFL match return to the ground in time,” Mr Bains said.
“This year we celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the famous Fightback campaign of 1989.
“To be embarking on such an exciting and ambitious project to redevelop the Whitten Oval precinct is a special opportunity which shows how far we’ve come as a club, and underlines our commitment to ensuring we provide elite facilities for our football teams and to service our members and fans, local residents and the community of the west,” he said.
The club is in the process of presenting a case to the Melbourne State Government for further assistance with the project, but also say a significant capital contribution will come from the club itself after recovering from debt over the past five years.