Spruce up . . . Checking out Waitaki Boys' High School's new multi-purpose turf on Monday are (from left) sports prefect Toby Lewis (17), rector Darryl Paterson, head of sport Ian Cathcart and sports prefect Jakob Cunningham (17). PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

After 18 months of delays, Waitaki Boys’ High School’s new turf development is finally complete.

The school’s four old tennis courts, which had been broken and cracked for more than 10 years, have been transformed into a $380,000 multi-purpose turf, fit for different sporting codes and exercise for the school and wider community.

The new turf incorporates four basketball courts, three tennis courts and lines for futsal and hockey.

The upgrade was funded through a series of grants, including $270,000 from the Ministry of Education school investment package, and $100,000 from the Otago Community Trust.
Since securing the funding, it has been a long road to getting the turf installed.

Initially it was meant to be laid last year, but weather conditions, Covid-19 and some supplies being on a boat stuck in the Suez Canal pushed the project back.

Contractors finally began laying the turf in the last week of the school holidays. But once they started, two of the four team members tested positive for Covid-19, pushing the project out by another week.

The turf officially opened on Monday and rector Darryl Paterson said it was a huge asset for the school.

The area had always been well utilised by pupils, especially during break times, but having better ground, and new lines, added something extra.

‘‘We had boys out here playing basketball, but now we’ll be able to use it for PE class, hockey training, football trainings,’’ Mr Paterson said.

The turf is next to Waitaki Boys’ Don House and would be great for the hostel pupils.

‘‘It’s a big boost hopefully for our marketing for Don House to have a brand new turf alongside the swimming pool, trap shooting range and everything else.’’

It could be utilised by the local community and sport organisations, such as North Otago Tennis.

‘‘It’ll be useful when the grass courts are wet,’’ he said.

Head of sport Ian Cathcart said the turf added another option for physical education classes during the winter. The school was limited when the back fields became muddy.

‘‘The multi aspect of it is so important,’’ Mr Cathcart said.

‘‘I’m just looking forward to seeing the boys out there at lunchtime too.’’

The school’s hockey players were excited about having their own turf to train on, instead of having to use half of the North Otago turf due to availability.

Sports prefects Jakob Cunningham and Toby Lewis both expected the turf to help get more pupils exercising and socialising with their friends.

‘‘There was always people playing basketball and then at times there was often boys playing touch rugby, but I think with [the turf] it’ll just increase the numbers,’’ Jakob said.

An official opening will be held at 10am on July 4, during interschool week.