Back from the brink: Sports hub reopens after vandals caused $ 3m worth of damage

Wheel Blacks Maia Marshall-Amai, Cody Everson and Cameron Leslie at the new Eastern Community Sports and Recreation in Shirley, Christchurch.

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

Wheel Blacks Maia Marshall-Amai, Cody Everson and Cameron Leslie at the new Eastern Community Sports and Recreation in Shirley, Christchurch.

A former school gym that was wrecked by vandals has been brought back from the brink and reopened as a community sports hub for east Christchurch.

The indoor court and clubroom at the old Shirley Boys’ High School site was closed for more than two years after the school vacated the site due to earthquake damage.

During the closure, the Ministry of Education spent at least $ 80,000 on security but doors and windows were smashed, holes were kicked in walls, parts of the ceiling were pulled down, and the elevator was damaged.

“Everything that can be broken is broken,” said Kirk McKay at the time, who visited the site as a board chair at nearby Banks Ave School.

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Vandals caused extensive damage at the sports center while it was closed.

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

Vandals caused extensive damage at the sports center while it was closed.

At the time the ministry said it was left with a $ 3 million repair bill as the damage meant the property no longer met building code regulations.

But it will reopen later in the month, managed by Eastern Community Sport and Recreation. Just over $ 2m was spent to refurbish the facilities.

It will be home to Canterbury Wheelchair Rugby, and will host Canterbury Korfball, Dead End Roller Derby and Tima, which provides integrated physical opportunities for youth with adapted needs.

The new sports hub will be used by schools, sports clubs and community groups when it finally opens on May 22.

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

The new sports hub will be used by schools, sports clubs and community groups when it finally opens on May 22.

Eastern Community Sports and Recreation community sports manager Kate Latimer said as well as the two nearby schools – Banks Avenue and Shirley Intermediate – the facility would be open to people from across the area.

“We want to open the doors to everyone in Shirley to make that happen and will welcome ideas from anyone about how we can best make it work for the community.

“There’s a real buzz and excitement about the gym coming back to life and being open to the tamariki and rangatahi of a new generation to utilize it alongside the rest of the community.”

Kate Latimer, community sports manager at Eastern Community Sports and Recreation, says the function room is suitable for activities such as dance, yoga and pilates, and Dallington OSCAR will hire the site for before and after school care and holiday programs.

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

Kate Latimer, community sports manager at Eastern Community Sports and Recreation, says the function room is suitable for activities such as dance, yoga and pilates, and Dallington OSCAR will hire the site for before and after school care and holiday programs.

The MoE’s Scott Evans Leader, leader Infrastructure and Digital, said the site is owned by the Ministry of Education and forms part of the campus of the new Pareawa Banks Avenue Primary School which will open on the site later this year.

“The facility will be used by the local early childhood centers, primary, intermediate and secondary schools which comprise the Ministry’s Otakaro Kahui Ako cluster as well as being available to the local community.”

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