Architectural layouts for Darley Park’s multi-million dollar sports and community centre have been released – and it’ll be bigger than Ben Hur.

At 1415 sq m, the building will be big enough to seat 500 people, fit the equivalent of more than seven tennis courts – and will sit where a 50-year-old pavilion is located now.

Former Darley Football Club President Ray Newton said the current rooms were not keeping up with Bacchus Marsh’s rapid growth.

“This new centre has been quite a few years in the making,” he said.

“What prompted us to do something was that we saw a hundred-year-old sports club sharing its rooms with a junior football club, cricket club and netballers.

“The showers were not very private.

“It had become dilapidated and unhealthy – and it was totally unsuitable for the 21st century.”

Earlier this month the State Government set aside $2.5 million from the Growing Suburbs Fund. This is the first year Moorabool has been eligible to apply.

Moorabool Council will tip in another $1 million.

User groups have raised $250,000 – which is an awful lot of cake stalls and sausage sizzles.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the three tenant clubs for helping us get this far,” Ray said.

“And we really need to thank Moorabool Shire Council and the Eastern ward councilors – Tonia Dudzik, John Keogh and David Edwards.

“There’s also been a lot of support from (Melton MLA) Steve McGhie. He’s been terrific.”

Ray has been credited as the driving force behind the project, but said it was a team effort.

“The process to get this centre began long before I was Darley Footy Club president in 2017-18.

“I did the application on behalf of other tenant clubs and we met on regular occasions.

“It wasn’t just me. It was others as well.”

He said a lot of time was spent on the business case and studying the area’s projected growth.

“We thought: Let’s go for a community centre to service this area into the future. It’s growing really quickly.

“You’ve got to think of the other groups that could use the centre – youth, service clubs, people holding functions, school concerts, people in seminars and training days as well as groups with end-of-year-events.

“What we’re doing is trying to provide something for everyone.”

He also spoke of a full-time cafe in the pavilion and an art display area.

One of the next steps is to form an official committee of management for the Grey St park.

Under State funding criteria, the project must start within six months and be completed by the end of January 2022.

 RELATED STORY: All systems go for new pavilion at Darley Park

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Main image: Architectural layout for the Darley Park pavilion, drawn up in 2018.

Gabrielle Hodson
Author: Gabrielle Hodson

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