The Wandin Football and Netball Club will finally have their clubrooms upgraded after a quarter of a century wait, off the back of a successful Pledge Night at the Gardner’s Run last Friday.
The Club had over 100 people in attendance with a percentage from each ticket going towards the funding of the proposed multipurpose facility.
Ex-Wandin President , Rob Bayliss, spoke about the variety of people in attendance at the event on Friday from across both junior and senior clubs and the wider community.
“People from all different sections of the community were in attendance, not just people from the two football clubs,”
“The club has been waiting almost 25 years for the new rooms, so we always knew there would be a pretty big deal made about it.”
The total raised from the Pledge night finished at $315,000, $65,000 more than their desired target of $250,000 with notable contributions from the Wandin Junior Football Club, Porter Davis Homes, Methven Real Estate and the Byrne, Bayliss, Napolean and Leech-Hines Families.
However the most notable contribution was that of the Wandin – Seville Community Bank Branch, who pledged $100,000 to the cause and have committed to helping the club with any future needs.
It’s not the first time that the Dogs have attempted to get their rooms upgraded. Over the course of this 25 year wait they’ve had many failed attempts, before Bayliss and a few others (Dannie McKinnon, Joe Napolean and Terry Leech-Hines) were able to get ex-Yarra Ranges Council Mayor David Hodgett to make the Wandin upgrade a high priority.
“It’s taken us three and a half years since then (involvement with Hodgett) with design plans and permits, but we should start building in July, possibly April,” Bayliss said about the final stages of planning.
Wandin will still need Federal funding, which the expect to be linked to the election early next year, meaning the July start is the more likely one.
The new facility will consist of two buildings, one being club centric, including change rooms, umpires rooms, committee rooms and a super box, whilst the second will be the social rooms which can be neutralised for any event, without all the football memorabilia usually associated with sporting club rooms. The two buildings will be separated by a courtyard.
“Our focus has been to not just build a pub for the sporting clubs (Football and Cricket), but to build a facility that can be used for any event, such as local school graduations,” said Bayliss. The rooms are expected to hold up to 170 people.
Not only will the rooms help the club off the field, Bayliss expects it will effect the on field as well. The old rooms had often been a deterrent for prospective signings.
“Troy Simmonds, who played some of his junior football at Wandin, came down for a look after his AFL retirement and he had a look at our rooms, before driving down to Montrose to have a look at theirs,”
“I’m pretty sure he rang them straightaway and said I’ll play footy for you blokes.”
The club is still on the campaign trail, as they seek to raise more funds to ensure that the kitchen and alike will be ready to cope with any large scale events that the rooms could host, whilst they expect the clubrooms to be ready for the first round of the 2020 season.
Beyond that the club will continue to find ways to improve their set-up.
“We want a second netball court as well. We’ve got five strong teams and we want them to all train together,”
“We’re just a club and committee that wants to grow with the league and its expansion.”