The redevelopment of Loyola Reserve is going ahead at full steam. The core club room design is currently being finalised with architects, with the design to include an angled front that will ensure viewing baseball from inside the rooms is a lot easier. There will be two full size change rooms with separate toilets and shower facilities, umpires change room with separate toilet, two all access (disabled) toilets, new bar linked to a new kitchen with all new equipment and a cool room! The social area will increase from around 70m2 to around 83 with plenty of light. There will also be external storage on the nets side of the rooms for both the cricket and baseball clubs for sponsors signs, balls, witches hats, pitching machine, bases, line marker etc which will keep the scorers hut a scorers hut!
The final design for the nets is currently in progress. We are looking at one wide batting tunnel with a roof and under ceiling lights, plus three cricket nets with a uniform floor and safer, protective nets. One net will remain a ‘basic’ public facility, and we are aiming to have two of the lanes able to be closed to allow for three batting tunnels. Full Baseball Victoria approved LED lights will light the area, with a new duel lane pitching pen running parallel to the tunnel (so south to north pitching).
A top safety net or structure is also being finalised to go behind home plate on a strengthened back net. This will dramatically reduce balls going into Concord School, local houses and into the carpark.
All in all it’s a circa $800,000 project that will allow both the cricket and baseball clubs to enjoy the next 10+ years with fantastic facilities. The planning and lobbying started over eight years ago, and commenced around upgrading the change room facilities. Timing will be the next challenge, with the program of works scheduled to commence March 2018. We have however already commenced communication with Banyule council and the MWBL around the disrupted first half of the season.
We’ve been grateful to have the current serviceable facilities over the past 20 years. Half a season of potential pain to ensure another 20 years of great facilities is a challenge we will need to embrace. With fantastic support from Counsellor Rick Garotti and the Banyule council, and further financial support from State MP Colin Brooks and Federal Member Jenny Macklin, as well as Watsonia Baseball Club and Bundoora United Cricket Club, it’s going to be an exciting new chapter for the club.
Murray Noble, President.