The blossoming marriage between two of western Melbourne's most respected and iconic organisations has been set in stone after new world-class training and education facilities were recently opened at Whitten Oval.
The new $8 million Sport and Recreation Learning Centre in Footscray West is a groundbreaking joint initiative of Victoria University and the Western Bulldogs Football Club.
VU's occupation at Whitten Oval is central to the partnership and co-operative work undertaken between one of Australia's leading Sports Science, Research and Education Institutions and one of the nation's most elite sporting clubs.
The new facilities comprise teaching spaces and staff facilities for VU's School of Sport and Exercise Science, and the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL). They also include remedial massage therapy teaching and consulting training rooms for the Vocational Education (VE) School of Sport and Science.
VU School of Sport and Exercise Science Lecturer Dr Rob Aughey said the Whitten Oval facilities provide an opportunity for VU students to learn alongside a range of sports and recreation professionals, as well as having access to leading-edge sports science technologies. Dr Aughey also works as a sport scientist for the Bulldogs.
"To be working on the same site as elite professional athletes is unique,'' he said. "Both our players and students will benefit from world class support that no other AFL club or tertiary institution can lay claim to.''
School of Sport and Science Senior Educator Kevin Skillen said the large VE teaching facility can accommodate 70 students at a time, including 12 new massage tables. It also houses seven massage consulting rooms, which are being used by students for consultations with members of the public.
"The students love it. They just can't believe that it's such a bright, vibrant facility with all brand new state-of-the-art equipment,'' Mr Skillen said.
"They've got closer access to the Bulldogs players, which means they are exposed to lots of injuries and pathologies that are less common in the general public. This allows them to learn and use different techniques to treat them.''
Mr Skillen said the new facilities have allowed the VE group to open the clinic for longer hours to service the public. It is currently taking bookings between 9.30am and 4pm, Monday to Thursday, with one-hour consultations costing only $25.
"I don't think you'd get that kind of treatment for $25 anywhere else and we're expecting an influx of interest.''
Photo opportunity: Remedial massage students carrying out consultations and practical lessons on Thursday, August 19 from 10am-11.30am.
Media contact: Daniel Clarke, Media Officer, VU Marketing and Communications Department, Ph: 9919 9491 or 0407 771 072