It's been several years in the making but the Tamworth Hockey Complex is ready for action following it's world class overhaul.
The $9.6 million project is a joint venture between the state government, Tamworth Regional Council and the Tamworth Hockey Association and includes the addition of a third field, new amenities facilities and an extension to the existing clubhouse.
Ahead of the season start, The Leader got a behind-the-scenes look at the revamped facility as THA president Mark O'Connor gave mayor Col Murray the grand tour.
The "jewel in the crown" of the upgrade is the third field, which with the existing two fields also getting new shock pads and new turf makes Tamworth the first regional association in the country to have three water-based international standard hockey fields all under lights.
Made with a more modern fibre, O'Connor said the new surface and shock pads will make it easier on player's joints, provide better bounce, better playability and make for faster games.
The existing in-ground watering system has also been replaced with state-of-the art cannons, which can be controlled by phone and will make watering the fields a more-efficient process.
"They can distribute a huge amount of water in a very short time over a larger area," O'Connor said.
"Being individual units we can pay respects to the local wind conditions and being infrastructure that's out of the ground if we have maintenance issues we're not tearing up the carpet."
A grand new entrance adorns the new amenities building, which houses the administration area, meeting rooms, additional storage facilities, men's, women's and accessible toilets, and the four international size change rooms.
The existing club house has meanwhile been extended to incorporate a covered area complete with barbecues. Clubs will also be able to house equipment on site in new storage facilities made from repurposed old goals.
The project was first announced in late 2018 and construction began after the completion of the 2019 season.
There are still a few cosmetic touches but O'Connor couldn't be happier with how it has come up.
"It's immensely satisfying to see what we've produced out here," he said.
"It's been a very very long road, lots of hours and lots back and forth."
He added a lot of volunteer labour from association members has gone into it, and spoke about the pride of knowing "that we're leaving a fantastic facility here for Tamworth."
Murray was impressed by what he said, remarking that the facility has created a new benchmark.
"It's probably exceeded my expectations actually," he said.
"I'm just so proud for Tamworth and so proud that our council's been able to deliver something like this in partnership with the association, and I think this is a reflection on what can happen when everybody is running in the same direction and working together."