Life changing | PCYC Wagga Wagga

A major investment in youth and community brings a historic rural centre in central west NSW together.

At the heart of the NSW Riverina district, PCYC Wagga Wagga brings to life a long-term goal of the Police Citizen’s Youth Club (PCYC NSW), to create a purpose-built centre for youth empowerment and resilience through sports, mentorship and community engagement.

AJC designed the $23 million club, which opened in November 2022 and builds on PCYC’s 59-year relationship with the local community. Built by Lipman, the 10,000 square-metre multifaceted sports facility is their largest development to date and includes 4 full-size multi-use sports courts in a naturally lit 3,200 square-metre sports hall, equipped with side-folding FIBA-certified basketball systems.

Community facilities include studios for martial arts, boxing, dance and yoga, a public café, conference and meeting facilities, an out-of-school-hours-care centre, youth drop-in hub and over 100 undercover parking spaces.

Site responsive

AJC used the prominent corner location strategically to orient the main sports hall away from the urban edge at the corner of Sturt Highway and Fitzhardinge Street, and towards the public open space of Bolton Park, reinvigorating the city’s established sports precinct.

Community rooms and spaces address Fitzhardinge Street, contained within two elliptical buildings wrapped in zincalume steel — a reference to the region’s grain silos. The ‘silos’ frame a glass entry atrium that continues as an internal pedestrian pathway through the Centre to the sports hall, which unfolds as a large streamlined cubic form, adjacent to Robertson Oval.

Curved steel facades reference the region’s grain silos.

Strategic use was made of the site contours to develop a split-level design between the community rooms and entry, and the voluminous main sports hall. This arrangement allowed tiered seating to be positioned where the levels shear, creating dynamic spectating spots along the court side lines for a great match-day experience.

The split-level design also gives great visual connection between all areas, and a relatively compact circulation path, while acoustic design has improved speech audibility while minimising noise spill during concurrent events.

Climate responsive

Because Wagga Wagga experiences extreme temperatures, we engineered a lot of new technology into the building to make it climate-responsive and maximise interior comfort, while minimising energy consumption.  The Climate Wizard evaporative air conditioning system uses 100% outside air and a quarter of the energy of air-conditioning to cool the main hall.

External shading devices are carefully calibrated to each orientation to reduce direct sun intake, including the colourful steel screens on the main sports hall. Triple-glazed prismatic polycarbonate skylights and double-glazed windows throughout minimise heat load and the need for artificial lighting.

A dual 16kW electric heat pump delivers hot water without burning gas, provision for roof-top solar, energy-efficient lighting and fixtures throughout, roof exhausts for natural ventilation, a 70kL rainwater storage system, and an all-electric design to facilitate a transition to a post-carbon world.

Colourful sun screens to the main sports hall.


Design and material choices tackle the issue of embodied carbon in a meaningful way to promote the use of ethical products and minimise environmental impact. The steel structure has been carefully optimised to reduce the volume of steel required, resulting in a skeletal frame which is left exposed internally.

Materials have been selected with reference to an embodied carbon assessment from extraction to production, transport, and potential recyclability, with minimal applied finishes required. Overall, the consumption of resources has been minimised by the design of efficient, flexible spaces that accommodate multiple uses and can adapt over time.

“This is an incredibly functional, sustainable and varied space covering health and wellbeing, social resilience, and educational programs for the community,” says Dominic Teakle, PCYC NSW CEO

The Centre is sited to embrace existing sports fields.

PCYC NSW is a registered charity now in its 85th year. It operates 66 clubs across New South Wales, with more than 95,000 members and 63,000 youth members, engaging with community through its sporting, recreational, cultural and educational programs, focussing on at-risk youth. The Wagga Wagga development was made possible after PCYC secured $10 million each from the Federal Government and State Government, and $3 million from Wagga Wagga City Council.

This is an incredibly functional, sustainable and varied space covering health and wellbeing, social resilience, and educational programs for the community.

Dominic Teakle, CEO, PCYC NSW