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Paeroa College is getting an upgraded sports facility after receiving a $40,000 grant. Photo: ALICE PARMINTER

Upgraded sports facility for Paeroa College 

Paeroa College students will soon be able to play winter codes without worrying about the weather.

A grant of $40,000 from NZ Charitable Trust has enabled the school’s Paeroa College Charitable Trust to go ahead with stage one of its planned multi-sports complex. 

The complex will be composed of an artificial sand-based turf, suitable for sports including netball, basketball, lacrosse and soccer. The turf will be encircled by a running track. 

School principal Amy Hacker said the trust was delighted to finally have the project underway. 

“Our sports programme is growing so much – this is the first year we’ve had a football team, our hockey is growing, we’ve always had really strong netball and basketball. But we’ve had a shortage of training facilities,” she said. 

“Our school roll has grown over the last four years, by 100 students. We are stretched at the gills in terms of our physical education classes. Obviously we have a gym, we have lovely fields but what we haven’t had is netball courts or a turf that will enable us to provide our students with a variety of physical education opportunities.”

Stage one of the project, which has already begun, involves digging up the existing, defunct asphalt netball courts on the college grounds. These will be replaced with the new turf. Fencing in the area will also be upgraded. 

In stages two and three, the area will be covered with a roof, and changing facilities and lighting will be installed, creating the Hauraki District’s first covered sports facility of this type. 

“This will be the only full court area that’s going to be covered in the district,” Board of Trustees member Larn Wilkinson said. 

“We’ve got the equivalent of an indoor facility but without the added ongoing costs that would cripple our community. [It’s] long overdue for Paeroa and the Hauraki district.” 

The trust plans to eventually open up use of the turf to local sports clubs. 

“The idea is that it will be primarily for school use particularly during the school day, but our hope is to be able to provide a facility for wider use in the community as well,” Amy said. 

The Paeroa College Community Trust has been working on developing this facility since its inception in 2016, but progress stalled when Covid arrived. 

“It’s just been over the past nine months or so that we’ve really reinvigorated it and decided to really get stuck into the fundraising,” Amy said. 

“I think we’ll find we get quite a lot of use out of it and then it’ll be easy to write those funding applications for stage two and get it covered.” 

The Paeroa College Community Trust is made up of community members invested in the growth and development in community and school resources and assets. 

“What’s been really cool about that for me is to see how much Paeroa College is a community asset, resource, part of the community,” Amy said. 

“We have people who don’t even have children here … who are on that trust and who really see the importance to growing opportunities for our rangatahi, so that’s been really awesome to have that level of community partnership, both from our funders and from the people who have been working hard to raise the money for this to go forward.” 

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air