In the swing . . . Oamaru Playcentre children (from left) Florian Kruskopf (4), Sovereign Van Delden (4), Grace Mulvena (2), mother Kirsten Dickson holding Arlo Mulvena (4 months), and Harmony Van Delden (2) enjoying the new swingset and the artwork of Sarka Cibulcova. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

Like a lot of 40-year-olds, Oamaru Playcentre is partyready.

The completion of a new outdoor mural and swing set have given the Trent St centre a fresh look, as associates past and present prepare to celebrate 40 years since it opened this weekend.

The centre began operating from its current premises in February 1982, after starting up in the Salvation Army Hall a year earlier.

Playcentre committee president Samara Kruskopf said the upcoming celebration was a way of thanking the organisations which contributed to the latest improvements, as well as marking the milestone.

The mural, painted by Oamaru artist Sarka Cibulcova, took a couple of months, and had been hampered by bad weather. It was finished last week. The theme of the artwork is native wildlife.

‘‘We replaced an old mural that was already out there, which was really dated.

‘‘It was cool in its own way, but it had a pipe-smoking duck, and a crazy snake.’’ The mural was paid for through a $2000 grant from the Community Creatives Scheme. ‘‘We thought [the children] might feel like they’re swinging into another world.’’

The swings were built by Breen Construction, using funding from a Waitaki District Council community groups grant, along with money raised by the playcentre families and a donation from one of the original founding members, Lee Brehaut.

The 16 children at the centre were ‘‘quite transfixed’’ by the new artwork, Mrs Kruskopf said.

‘‘You can tell that they can actually see the beauty of it as well.’’

Cibulcova said she would run a workshop with the children after the celebrations, using the paint that was left over from the mural.

‘‘So the kids get to have the interactive aspect as well.’’

Anybody with a connection to Oamaru Playcentre is welcome to attend the celebrations tomorrow, at 2.30pm.