Shutdown’s silver lining as centre fast-tracks upgrade

Luke Hepburn alongside local painter Richard Rossetto. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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Two years’ worth of much-needed renovations will now be completed in less than six months according to Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre (PVRSC) General Manager Luke Hepburn.

While the Coronavirus shutdown has decimated sport across the country, the popular Cambridge Park-based centre has used the hiatus to their advantage.

What would’ve been a logistical nightmare juggling tradies with the various sports being played there each day has resulted in PVRSC being able to complete numerous upgrades well ahead of schedule.

Hepburn said a funding commitment from the Federal Government has been put to very good use.

“I’ve got to thank our local MP Melissa McIntosh because the funding she gave us at the last election has gone a long way in keeping us sane throughout this shutdown,” he told the Weekender.

“We’ve done a lot of work since we received that funding and we’ve taken advantage of the spare time. Because the centre was at capacity, we were expecting to do this work over a two-year period but we now hope to have all renovations finished by September.”

Utilising local tradies and Australian products where they can, some of the renovations that have already taken place include an upgraded roof to repair over 60 leaks; the installation of new roller doors, air conditioning and a fire hydrant; as well a fresh lick of paint across the entire centre.

“Painting is the big one. We’ve painted every court as well as the foyer area wall to wall, right up to the roof,” Hepburn said.

“We’ve also ordered motorised dividing curtains to separate the courts, and we begin renovations on our bathrooms this week.

“Our intention is to complete all the lower level bathrooms within 12 weeks. The new bathrooms will have improved accessibility and will be easy to clean.”

While the PVRSC have lost considerable money due to booking cancellations over the past few months, Hepburn said the shutdown has seen them save thousands on renovations because they’ve been able to get work done faster and at better times of the day.

“While this shutdown has been terrible for the business, the plus side is we’ve been able to bring everything forward and keep people employed during this time,” he said.

“It would’ve cost us a lot more to navigate the crazy hours, so it’s allowed us to keep costs down and, with the savings, we might be able to get a few extra things as well.”

While the PVRSC remains shut to the public for the time being, the centre is hoping the easing of restrictions will allow them to re-open sometime next month.

“We’re predicting indoor sport activity would be able to return early to mid June,” he said.

“It’s going to be very restricted and people will have to get used to certain things, like no spectators. However, the trade off is being able to fast track these renovations and I can’t wait for people to enjoy it. This is all for them after all.”

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