The Richmond Football Club have revealed the designs of a $65 million redevelopment of its spiritual home, Punt Road Oval, that will cement the club’s future at the base for generations to come.
Operating out of Punt Rd since the club’s inception in 1885, the redevelopment will include a resizing of the oval to the same dimensions as the MCG, state-of-the-art facilities for the Tigers’ women’s program and enhanced facilities for the men’s program, a new grandstand that will house up to 8000 spectators (up from 2500), improved education spaces for the Korin Gamadji Institute – Richmond’s Indigenous program – and a 280 vehicle carpark.
Richmond CEO, Brendon Gale, says the revitalisation project, to be named the William Cooper Centre, seeks to ensure the Tigers remain at Punt Rd well beyond this decade.
“If we don’t use this opportunity to invest in our entire facilities, including the ground, to ensure it’s fit for purpose to meet the long term, our medium to long term future at the club is in jeopardy,’’ he says in an interview with News Limited.
“That seems horrible because there is so much historical significance and historical value with Richmond being at Punt Rd Oval where it has been since 1885.’’
Richmond has already secured $30 million in government funding and is now looking to its fans to donate towards the project in order to make it become a reality. The project will allow the club to host both VFL and AFLW matches once it reaches completion.
The revitalisation will see the oval widened to maximum capacity and rotated to sit where the current Jack Dyer Stand sits. The new stand, that will replace the Jack Dyer Stand, will be constructed on the current carpark, which will comprise the new women’s facilities, administration offices and 1800 undercover seats for spectators.
“The (new) Punt Rd precinct will be much more exciting,’’ says Gale.
“It’s just not up to scratch at the moment, it will be a much more comfortable and engaging experience for members and football supporters.’’
Gale says the club endeavoured to retain and refresh the existing grandstand, after the National Trust Victoria found it to be of ‘architectural, historic and social significance’.
“It (the Jack Dyer Stand) is basically condemned, it’s uninsured, we can’t have more than 20 people in it and the cost of refurbishment is prohibitive,’’ he says.
Bricks from the stand will be adaptively reused to form pathways. The new building will also include a home for the Bachar Houli Foundation.
“Richmond members and fans have a proven track record of supporting our club and it’s really important to invest and continue to grow our strong and bold future at Punt Rd for years to come,’’ he said.
Planning for the new Punt Rd facility is due to be completed by early 2022. If the club is able to receive the required amount of donations in order to make the project a reality, Gale believes the William Cooper Centre will reach completion by 2024.
Image: Richmond FC