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Upgrade .. St Kevin's College head of physical education and sport Craig Smith on the school's artificial turf, which is to be replaced with asphalt as part of a $150,000 project. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A major project that will benefit sportspeople at St Kevin’s College is close to going ahead.

Plans are in the pipeline to upgrade the sand-based turf beside the school’s gymnasium to an asphalt surface that will be used for netball, basketball and tennis.

It will also include the option of putting up cricket nets to replace the nets on the school’s playing fields, and also retaining part of the turf for hockey.

St Kevin’s College head of physical education and sport Craig Smith said the project was set to cost about $150,000, and the school hoped it would be finished by the middle of next year.

He said the replacement of the turf was a long time coming.

“It’s been around for 20 years now . . . it needs to be replaced and it’s the same with the cricket nets out there.

“We’re just looking at redeveloping it, really, as opposed to doing another hockey turf. We’ll look at making use of it a bit better. It’s slippery when it’s wet and it’s slippery when it’s dry so it’s a bit of a health and safety thing, as well.”

The space was not used regularly for hockey, which was played at North Otago Hockey’s artificial turf near the school.

Several parties have come on board to support the project financially, including the Otago Community Trust ($34,000), Lions Foundation ($12,000) and the New Zealand Cricket Foundation ($6000).

The school has also invested in the project.

More funding was needed, but Mr Smith was confident that would not be an issue.

“We’ve got to try and cover the rest of the costs. We’re two-thirds of the way there, so it’s about trying to get the rest of it.”

He believed the project would benefit sport at the school.

“We want to try and increase the engagement in physical education and sport at the school. That’s the backbone of it, I suppose.”

Construction was likely to start over summer.