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Fresh tracks . . . Helping to cut the new mountain bike tracks at St Kevin's College are pupils (from left) James Mansfield, Andrew Sinclair and Campbell Fowler (all 15). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A block of land at St Kevin’s College is being given an exhilarating new lease of life.

The school is planting a hill block with native trees and within that creating a 2km downhill mountain bike track, in conjunction with Mountain Biking North Otago.

Felling of a pine forestry block on campus last year had presented the school with the opportunity, St Kevin’s College associate principal Kerry Ryan said.

Mountain bike tracks and native bush would benefit the wider community and supported the school’s sustainability goals, Mr Ryan said.

“One of the elements of our school is service and integrity – so taking care of the environment fits that nicely,” he said.

The mountain bike tracks were being cut at present, and several pupils had been volunteering their time to help, under the supervision of Jimmy McGeown.

St Kevin’s College sports co-ordinator Sarah Clapperton has been co-ordinating the planting, with the support of members of the North Otago Tree Planting Association.

“There’s been absolute masses of work going on,” Mr Ryan said.

The area would be named Service Hill, due to its location behind the school’s war memorial grotto, and would be an ongoing tribute to the idea of service to the community.

“If it can be a living symbol of community and recognition of service to others, and if it can be enjoyed by the people of North Otago, then we feel we have come to a good place,” St Kevin’s College principal Paul Olsen said.

The mountain bike tracks would be available for the community to use.

An official opening was being planned for April 24 next year.

The tracks would add to a growing network in the wider Oamaru area and, in time, hopefully link with the existing Oamaru Reservoir tracks, Mr Ryan said.

“People would have a really exciting ride then,” he said.

“They’d be able to do the Reservoir, then ride over and do the Service Hill track.”

There was already a strong interest in mountain biking at St Kevin’s College, and the new tracks would help grow the sport’s popularity at the school and in the community.

Anyone interested in supporting the project should contact the school office on (03)437-1665 and ask for Jimmy McGeown or Sarah Clapperton.Nike sneakersNike