Concept designs for the new Kuranui gymnasium. IMAGE/SUPPLIED

TOM TAYLOR
tom.taylor@age.co.nz

A new gymnasium at Kuranui College is one step closer to becoming a reality as agreements were submitted for council approval yesterday.

The gym will serve as a recreational facility for the wider community, with community groups able to access the gym outside of school hours and in school holidays.

At a meeting yesterday, South Wairarapa District Council received a Funding and Agreements Report, including a draft memorandum of understandingand casual use agreement for the gym.

The council also viewed proposed concept designs of the facility by Designgroup Stapleton Elliott.

Council approval will trigger the release of $1 million of SWDC funding for the gym.

SWDC agreed to provide this funding as part of its 2020-21 Annual Plan deliberations after several different solutions were proposed to replace the earthquake-prone gym.

Kuranui College and the Ministry of Education will foot the rest of the approximately $5.5 million bill. MOE funding would not become available until the SWDC funding was signed off.

Council funding will be provided under the condition that the wider community could access and use the new facility.

Kuranui College principal Simon Fuller said the school already welcomed community groups to use the existing gym, but the upgraded gym would likely attract increased interest from the wider community.

“The use agreement is no different to what we have with the community now … it’s just that our existing gym is a hunk of junk. This one’s going to be really good.”

The new gym would be larger than the existing gym, allowing for a full-size netball court of 30.5 metres. The gym’s surface could also double as a basketball court, with a shorter l
ength of about 28m.

At present, the gym could only cater to miniball, a junior form of basketball with a shorter court.

Sports such as volleyball and badminton could also be played within the new gym, with a higher ceiling proposed in concepts. This would be a major improvement for the school’s volleyball teams, which increased from one to six this year.

“You can’t practise in our gym because as soon as you hit the volleyball, it hits the roof.”

The draft MOU included the provision to establish a facility management group, which would include SWDC and Greytown Sports and Leisure representatives.

Under the MOU, maintenance of the facility – including cleaning, repairs, and security – would remain the responsibility of Kuranui College and MOE.

Any community users of the gym would use swipe cards to access the facilities, reducing the need for security staff. Security cameras would also monitor the gym, although Fuller said there had never been any problems in the past.

Kuranui College would have sole use of the facility during school hours, with bookings for other users available from 5-10pm on weekdays, as well as in the weekends and holidays.

“The facility is going to be game-changing for the students,” Fuller said. “The council, in their decision last year, talked quite extensively about putting investment into young people, which they have done.

“It’s going to open up not just sporting opportunities but a whole lot of well-being opportunities and curriculum opportunities for the kids.”



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