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The community and school sport will both be winners with a new artificial turf field being installed at Wellington College in partnership with Wellington City Council.
Work has started on the construction of the new turf to replace an existing boggy field in the college grounds. Significantly, the turf will also be available for the general public to use.
Councillor John Morrison, the Council's Portfolio Leader for Sports and Events, says this is the first time the Council has partnered with a school for an artificial turf.
"We've gone into this with the aim of encouraging more people to take part in sport - whether at school or in their local touch team - and to provide a high-quality facility. The great thing about these artificial fields is that sporting activities can carry on year-round without the interruption of wet weather, and they can be used by so many different codes," Cr Morrison says
Neil Quigley, the chair of the Wellington College Board of Trustees, says the joint venture is great news for sport at the school.
"From our perspective the most significant impact of the turf will be to allow training and competitive sport to continue all year round, including those mid-winter periods of heavy rain.
"We consistently see the pride of Wellington College students across a wide range of sports and the Board wants to encourage their continued success at both regional and national level."
Dr Quigley said it was also a good opportunity for community involvement and the College would continue working with the Council on maximising usage of the facility.
The turf will have permanent markings for both football and rugby but can be used for many other sports such as touch, league, ultimate and athletics. Under the agreement, the public will be able to book the turf Mondays to Thursdays after 5.30pm, on Saturday afternoons, all day on Sundays and up to half of school holiday periods.
At 90 metres from goal to goal it will be the largest school field of its type in Wellington, and the turf is to be certified by both FIFA and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The Council is contributing $660,000 with Wellington College funding the balance - Wellington College will own the field and be responsible for the upkeep of the turf and grounds.
The new field will be completed in February next year bringing the number of artificial sportsfields constructed in the city since 2009 to five.