Multimillion Dollar Grandstand Upgrade Kicks Off At Wickham’s Passmore Oval

The heritage grandstand at Wickham’s Passmore Oval has stood the test of time and this month works to ensure it can continue to be used by everyone in the community for the next century are set to begin.

The $2.35 million project is a collaboration between the City of Newcastle and the Hamilton Hawks Rugby Union Club, which successfully applied for a $1 million grant from the NSW Government under the Greater Cities Sport Facility Fund.

Their investment will deliver a new two-storey building constructed at the back of the existing grandstand, providing accessible sports facilities and viewing for both Passmore Oval and neighboring Hawkins Oval.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the extension and upgrade of the grandstand will set an inclusive benchmark for Newcastle’s sporting facilities.

“This project will deliver dedicated female change rooms to cater for the growing number of women and girls playing rugby union and cricket in Newcastle, and will also ensure the spectator facilities meet the needs of all members of our community.”

Designs by local firm EJE Architecture show the completed facilities will be fully accessible with a lift and amenities on both levels of the new building for people with a disability visiting the Wickham Park sporting complex.

Dedicated women’s dressing rooms for both the home and away teams will be housed on the ground floor of the new building, along with a shared exercise and training area and storage rooms.

The upper level will feature a community room, a kitchen area for food and drinks service and a balcony overlooking Hawkins Oval.

The existing grandstand will also include a new community meeting room and viewing space for wheelchair users overlooking Passmore Oval.

Hamilton Rugby Club President Lesa Mason said the improvements and additions at Passmore Oval would be a massive boost for the Club and the community, but especially for the booming number of young female sports participants.

“The purpose-built female dressing rooms will see the end of our junior and senior women’s teams getting changed in cars or waiting for ‘their turn’ in the men’s dressing rooms,” Ms Mason said.

“Participation rates in women’s 7s Rugby and the 15-a-side game are booming so the timing of the development is excellent… [and] female player registrations at the Hamilton Hawks are reflecting the rapid growth nationally.”

The timeline for Stage One of the project is slated for completing by mid-2024. Council and the Hamilton Hawks will then turn their attention to the second and final phase which includes a fit out of the upper level of the new building.

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