Illawarra kicking goals at Dragons’ centre of excellence


The Illawarra is a step closer to a state-of-the-art sporting centre of excellence to house the Dragons and foster a love of sport in children, as the first concept images of the new facility are revealed.

St George Illawarra Dragons has submitted the development application for its new Community and High Performance Centre (CHPC) at the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Innovation Campus.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the NSW Government is investing $40 million in the project, which will set a new benchmark for community, education and sporting excellence.

“This facility will be a fantastic community asset, bridging the gap between elite sport and the girls and boys who love getting together for a kick around, swim or gym session,” Mr Kean said.

“Athletes will benefit from two full-sized fields with floodlights, NRL and NRLW change rooms, a large state-of-the-art gym, a hot-and-cold aquatic recovery centre, a physio and strapping room, a lecture theatre and a player lounge area.

“This centre will also house a merchandise zone as well as the club’s administration offices, bringing the Dragons’ entire operations into one location.”

Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said the project is expected to create 229 new jobs during construction and support more than 60 new full-time jobs once operational.

“The Illawarra is a traditional rugby league stronghold, and this new facility will foster the next generation of talent from across the region,” Mr Henskens said.

“Opportunities for those attending University of Wollongong will be extensive, with student access to the CHPC expected to reach 30-45 hours per week in the name of improved education, research, data sharing and partnership outcomes.”

Dragons Chairman Andrew Lancaster said the club had worked hard to develop a proposal that will deliver for the community, UOW, rugby league and the region.

“The CHPC will provide exciting opportunities to further the club’s community partnership activities that stretch from the St George region to the Illawarra, South Coast and beyond,” Mr Lancaster said.

“It will build on the 20 different programs and more than 114,000 community members currently engaging with St George Illawarra each year, and be a catalyst for increased female participation in sport.”

The project is being funded by the NSW Government, which has committed more than $1 billion to community sports infrastructure since 2017.

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