The City of Greater Dandenong has received a $3.3 million grant from the Victorian Government’s Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program for the development of a Health and Wellbeing Gymnasium at Noble Park Aquatic Centre (NPAC). This development represents ‘stage 1’ of the centre’s redevelopment, which is a key outcome of Council’s Aquatic Strategy that was endorsed in September last year.
This stimulus funding has allowed Council to bring the NPAC stage 1 redevelopment forward, due to the scale of the project and its ability to meet the ‘shovel ready’ requirements of the funding program.
Note: Whilst the new Dandenong aquatic and wellbeing centre (Dandenong Oasis replacement facility) remains a high priority for Council, it did not meet the eligibility criteria under this funding program.
NPAC Health and Wellbeing Gymnasium – Project Overview
The redevelopment / expansion of NPAC was one of two key recommendations from the Greater Dandenong Aquatic Strategy (September 2019) which included the development of a health and wellbeing gymnasium (stage 1) and expansion of the indoor pool hall (stage 2) including a dedicated learn to swim pool, water play / leisure pool, redeveloped program / warm water pool and amenities.
The Stage 1 Redevelopment - Health and Wellbeing Gymnasium will include:
- Gymnasium (600 sqm) with areas for personal / group training, stretch, cardio, functional training and weights.
- Three program / group training rooms for 1) high intensity group fitness; 2) spin classes; and 3) wellness / gentle exercise, with potential for use as a multi-purpose community space.
- Dedicated female, male and accessible change areas.
- Office / assessment area, social space, stair and lift (to new first floor) and storage areas.
- Provision for 24/7 operation / after-hour access.
The development of the gymnasium is expected to have a positive and significant impact on visitation and participation levels, community health and the operational performance of the Centre.
This design builds on previous planning and consultation undertaken through the Aquatic Strategy and subsequent feasibility study to incorporate the recommended facility components (listed above). The draft design has been developed by appointed architects Co-Op Studio in accordance with the following design considerations.
The Health and Wellbeing Gymnasium will:
- Be located to the left of the main reception area, consolidating dry health and fitness facilities towards the south-east end of the building.
- Be integrated with the existing NPAC facility to provide a consistent look and feel (integration of design, materials, colours etc.).
- Minimise the impact on the surrounding area including 50m pool surrounds / outdoor grassed area by:
- Providing an efficient two-storey development that contains the size of the building envelope by locating the program / group fitness rooms on the upper level
- Repurposing underutilised facilities within the centre including:
- two of the three program rooms to be converted to gymnasium space (program room closest to reception to be retained)
- current toilets and meeting room to be redeveloped as full change rooms (with showers)
- Include functionality for 24/7 access as an operational option.
- Provide a sustainable building solution by incorporating environmentally sensitive design (ESD) measures.
- Incorporate universal design principles to ensure the facility caters for all people regardless of age, ability and cultural background.
Timelines and Next Steps
A consultation on the draft design for the Health and Wellbeing Gymnasium is out from August - September.
Council will consider all community feedback in finalising the design for the NPAC Health and Wellbeing Gymnasium.
Construction is proposed to commence in February 2021.
Council will endeavour to minimise the impact of the construction process on the operation of the existing centre. The indoor and outdoor pools will remain open during the construction period (subject to COVID-19 restrictions).
Why is a redevelopment of NPAC required?
NPAC is located in the population centre of Greater Dandenong with over 77,000 residents living within 3km. However, despite the Centre’s central and accessible location, NPAC is significantly underutilised due to the limited range of facilities and year-round services that are currently available.
The Aquatic Strategy recommended the redevelopment of NPAC to include an expanded range of facilities and services in order to increase visitation and participation levels, enhance the operational performance of the centre and improve the health and wellbeing of the community.
The NPAC redevelopment is proposed to be undertaken in a staged approach, with the health and wellbeing gymnasium to be delivered as stage 1.
What will happen to the existing program rooms?
There are currently three program rooms and one meeting room at NPAC that receive low levels of use. The draft design proposes to retain one of the existing program rooms as a multi-purpose room (closest to reception), whilst the other two program rooms will be converted into part of the gymnasium.
Group training / exercise classes currently run by Centre Management will be moved upstairs to the new wellness and/or group fitness rooms. Other current uses such as birthday parties and external bookings (i.e. tutoring / educational sessions and meetings) may continue to utilise the downstairs multipurpose room, subject to availability. All casual bookings will be managed on the basis of availability of space, an approach that is consistent with operation of other centres.
Note: The new upstairs group fitness and wellness rooms will also have the capacity to cater for community use / bookings, subject to demand and availability.
Why has 24/7 gym access been included in the design?
The draft design includes provision for 24/7 or afterhours access to the health and wellbeing gymnasium in accordance with industry trends and to cater for the high proportion of shift workers in Greater Dandenong– making participation more accessible.
The provision of a separate secure entrance and the ability to limit afterhours access to the gymnasium only (and accessible change rooms) provides operators with the option to provide an extended service to members, once they have been inducted on appropriate use etc. Such access will be provided in accordance with industry best practice and include appropriate technologies and monitoring systems.