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Demolition will soon start on the old clubrooms at the Lucknow Recreation Reserve to make way for a new $1.86 million facility for players and spectators.

Members of the Lucknow Football and Netball Club have cleared the rooms of furniture and equipment and packed away years of memorabilia to allow work to get underway.

Local MPs Darren Chester and Tim Bull met with club members last week for their last time inside the old social rooms.

Mr Chester, who last year announced $500,000 in Federal Government support for the redevelopment at the reserve, said the finished facilities would be equal to some of the best in Gippsland.

“The need for the work to be done was clear: the facilities were old and out-dated and didn’t cater for the growing number of female participants,” Mr Chester said.

“This season for footballers and netballers across Gippsland has been unlike any other in recent memory due to the coronavirus lockdown and social distancing requirements.

“Next year, though, Lucknow Football Netball Club will have something particularly special to look forward to when its players, their families and club supporters can gather at the rec reserve as a community.”

Club life member Tania McNamara said packing up was a time of mixed emotions.

“A lot of our club’s history has played out in this building, so there’s some sadness to be packing up,” Mrs McNamara said. “But the facilities just didn’t meet our needs as a modern club, so this is also an exciting time for everyone.

“The opening of the new clubrooms will be a major milestone in our club’s history. I hope it will be the beginning of a new period of growth, prosperity and success and it will be a key step in realising our vision to make the reserve a family hub for sports and recreation in Bairnsdale’s east.”

The redevelopment of the clubrooms includes new changerooms, kitchen, canteen and toilets, as well as an upgrade of the social rooms that will create views of the action on the oval.

East Gippsland Shire Council is also providing funding and managing the project. Construction of the new facilities, undertaken by Bairnsdale’s Brooker Builders, are due to be finished in time for next year’s football-netball season. A new netball court and a warm-up court were completed earlier this year.

The Lucknow Recreation Reserve is the main sporting and recreation facility on the eastern side of Bairnsdale and is home to a number of other groups including Lucknow Cricket Club, Bairnsdale Squash and Table Tennis Centre, and Bairnsdale and District Dog Obedience Club.

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