The nib Newcastle Knights’ $20 million Centre of Excellence at District Park,Broadmeadow is a step closer following the appointment of construction company Richard Crookes Constructions to build the high performance, training, administration and multi-purpose community facility.
The announcement comes just a month after Hunter-based civil construction services firm Daracon Group commenced work on the three new playing fields at the site.
Member of the Legislative Council Taylor Martin said the project will create 80 jobs and provide a major boost to the Hunter construction industry as it recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Newcastle Knights are part of the fabric of the Hunter,” Mr Martin said.
“The club represents the people and the people represent the club, creating aconnection that is unique in Australian sport.
“The Knights’ Centre of Excellence will further strengthen this connection by enablingthe club to expand its community programs, initiatives and engagement.”
Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said the Knights’ Centre of Excellence would bethe envy of sporting administrations around the country.
“Improving the quality and quantity of sports infrastructure in regional areas is a NSW Government priority,” Mr Lee said.
“The Centres of Excellence Program provides integrated world-class high- performance training, administration and community facilities for the identification, development and fostering of rugby league talent.
“Once completed, the Newcastle Knights Centre of Excellence will be the leading rugby league facility in regional NSW and ensure the Knights continue to challenge for premierships in the years to come.”
Newcastle Knights & Wests Group Australia CEO Philip Gardner said the Knights were on track to move into their new home ahead of the 2022 pre-season in 12months’ time.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Richard Crookes Constructions to the Knights family and we look forward to working together to create something truly special hereat the Centre of Excellence,” Mr Gardner said.
“This announcement comes on the back of much hard work and negotiation and I would like to pay tribute to our funding partners, the NSW Government, as well as VenuesNSW and all stakeholders that helped get us to this point.”
Newcastle Knights head coach Adam O’Brien said the Centre of Excellence was a game changer for the NRL team and Club.
“It will give our team the best possible platform for success, and it will be a home for our Club and for our community,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I can’t wait to see the facility take shape and look forward to moving in once completed.”
Mr Martin joined Mr Gardner and Mr O’Brien at the announcement and said a key component of the project was its ability to improve community engagement through dedicated multipurpose community facilities.
The Newcastle Knights Centre of Excellence will include three full-sized training fields, a state-of-the-art gym, multipurpose community and function area, lap pool and sauna, theatrette and players’ lounge, rehabilitation space and office areas, walkway and cycle path.
The NSW Government is contributing $10 million towards the project through its NRL Centres of Excellence Program which has been matched by Wests Group Australia on behalf of the Newcastle Knights.