The home of AFL team Geelong will see its capacity increase to 40,000 thanks to a AUD$40m (€24.7m/£22.3m) cash injection from the Victorian government.
GMHBA Stadium – historically Kardinia Park – will see the final stage of its redevelopment funded by the Australian state’s coffers in its 2020-21 budget, increasing the total spent on the project to $142m. Work is expected to begin in the new year.
The project will involve the construction of a 14,000 capacity, two-tier northern stand to replace the ageing Ford Stand and Ablett Terrace. Stadium chiefs hope the capacity increase from 36,000 to 40,000 will boost Geelong’s ability to attract national and international events to the city, which is close to Melbourne.
The new stand will include facilities for all levels including new professional standard unisex change rooms and a home for the Geelong Cricket Club. The region’s up-and-coming cricketers will also benefit from the creation of a regional cricket hub.
Stadium operations will be bolstered through the delivery of a new administration area for stadium and event staff and dedicated sustainability measures. There will also be a new northern entry plaza, sports museum, function room and a suite of technology upgrades including high-speed public wi-fi and LED signage.
“We’re delighted with this investment from the Victorian Government which will deliver a world-class stadium designed to serve its community,” said Stephen Gough, Kardinia Park Stadium Trust chair.
“Kardinia Park continues to enhance its recognition as Australia’s best regional stadium.”
The most recent stage of the stadium redevelopment was completed in 2017 and included the new Brownlow Stand, a community-based rehabilitation centre and training and administration facilities for the Geelong Football Club. The Victorian Government contributed $75m towards those works.
Kardinia Park attracts more than 400,000 spectators in a standard year across a diverse calendar that includes regular AFL, BBL, WBBL and A-League matches.
It was previously the home of A League soccer team Melbourne Victory, but is now plays host to Western United games.
Images: Kardinia Park Stadium Trust