The Shepparton Little Athletics Centre is coming home.
Preparations started Sunday for the centre to move back into the refurbished McEwen Reserve facilities, with equipment being transferred in anticipation of the official September 22 opening.
‘‘This isn’t the official opening, it’s still locked up to the public at the moment, but we need to get our equipment back here from down at our temporary venue because all the schools will be starting to come in to use the track,’’ president Aileen Zanelli said.
‘‘So the council invited us, because we’re the main user body, to have a look, see and feel for any of the kids to come and have a try out and see what it’s all about.’’
Zanelli said excitement was palpable within the athletics community for the new facilities to be ready to use, which include a synthetic running track, high jump area and long jump, triple jump and javelin runways.
‘‘It’s exciting — from the first minute it was announced a couple of years ago, everyone has been on top of the world and finally the outcome is here,’’ she said.
‘‘(The track) is fantastic, especially for early mornings and wet weather, because you can still go ahead (with events).
‘‘It’s also great for little aths, because all region events have to be done on synthetic surfaces now.’’
The venture has been arduous, with works originally scheduled for completion on March 17, but has already borne fruit for Greater Shepparton, with next year’s Northern Country Region Track and Field Championships to be hosted at the new track in February.
‘‘We’ll have people coming from as far as Albury, Bendigo and Seymour, so they’ll all be here in February for the region track and field (event), which is exciting for Shepparton,’’ Zanelli said.
‘‘We thought ourselves for that region track and field day when everyone’s here to say, for the Little Athletics community, that that will be our official opening.’’
Zanelli hoped the updated area would help draw new members to the club and attract more events in the future.
‘‘It is great for athletics, great for the Shepparton Little Athletics Centre and for the community, it brings a lot of people to the town,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re hoping for big memberships this year.’’