Feasibility Study

TKHS Board of Trustees has received a Pre Feasibility Investigation report into the possible development of a new indoor sport and recreation facility at the school.

The current school gymnasium is 45 years old and in urgent need of upgrading or replacement. The BOT has earmarked some funds to go towards this and are considering the possibility of a new facility developed under a school-community partnership model.

Upgrading of the existing gym would not provide the school with a facilitiy that is up to modern standards. It would still be too small for playing most indoor sports and be inadequate in a number of other aspects.

A school community partnership may enable the school to have the same level of access, but to a significantly better facility, while providing the wider community with the significant benefits of such a facility.

The BoT commissioned Bruce Maunsell to conduct an initial investigation into the feasibility of this option.

Following is a summary of his findings:

The purpose of this investigation is to:

1. Assess the need for a new indoor sport and recreation facility at Te Kuiti High School, based on a school/community partnership model

2. Recommend the appropriate configuration of an indoor facility

3. Recommend appropriate ownership, governance and management structures

4. Test the viability of a new facility

5. Advise on whether the project should advance to more a detailed investigation and planning phase

There are no indoor court facilities that meet contemporary standards within the sub region of Otorohanga, Waitomo and northern Ruapehu Districts. The existing facilities are old and require costly maintenance and upgrading, are inadequate for many indoor sports and recreational activities, have inherent safety hazards and limit participation.

At the local level Te Kuiti High School’s gymnasium is in urgent need of renovation or replacement. The school needs improved facilities in order to adequately deliver its physical education curriculum and extra- curricular activities. The School’s Board of Trustees has reserved funds for this project.

Community consultation reinforced that there is significant need, and general support, for a new facility in the local community. There are some concerns about the future of the present Te Kuiti Indoor Stadium which should be addressed.

The Waitomo District and wider sub-region are facing challenges including; youth disaffection, population decline, difficulties in attracting new residents, indoor sport participation below national levels and low levels of investment in recreation facilities.

As well as providing for the school’s urgent needs a new facility would provide a range of benefits to the wider community including; increased sport and recreation participation, improved community health, reduced social problems, raised community morale, assisting the District Council meet its commitments and making the area a more attractive place to live.

Sport New Zealand, and its regional level provider Sport Waikato, are encouraging rationalisation of sports facilities, including the development of sub-regional facilities that enable larger scale, more appropriate and economically viable amenities. Sport Waikato’s Regional Facilities Framework has recognised the need for a sub-regional indoor facility in Te Kuiti or Otorohanga.

So, as well as there being a significant local need for an indoor court facility and fitness centre, there is a wider need for a sub-regional indoor facility.

Te Kuiti is an ideal location for a sub-regional indoor facility. It is an hour’s drive from most parts of the sub-region. Te Kuiti High School would be a very suitable site.

This study confirms that a facility comprising of a double indoor court, fitness centre, multi-purpose room, changing rooms, storage and office space is feasible would be the most appropriate configuration. A number of other components are desirable but could be sacrificed to minimise costs. A high level capital cost estimate of $6.87 million, including all desirable components, has been calculated for early budgeting purposes.

Forecasts indicate that with effective management, prudent cost control and minimal subsidisation the facility could operate sustainably.

Design of the new facility should prioritise functionality and minimising capital and operating costs in order to make the facility as affordable as possible. Further functional briefing and concept development will be required to establish a more detailed and accurate construction cost estimate.

Expected demographic and social changes over the next few decades mean new facilities need to be designed to be adaptable to ensure they remain relevant and viable.

Governance and operating models were considered with the preferred governance model being a Community Trust made up of 5-6 representatives of major stakeholders. The Trust’s priority should be the sustainable management of the facility. While the school will be a primary stakeholder, facility management should be independent, with a commercial focus.

The compelling need for a sub-regional level indoor sports and recreation facility combined with Te Kuiti High School’s need for better facilities provides the basis for a potentially successful school community partnership. This investigation has found that sustainable and economically viable operation of such a facility is feasible and should be investigated further.

A full copy of the report is available to be read at Te Kuiti High School’s office during school hours.

It would be only at the conclusion of the full feasibility investigation that a decision on whether or not to proceed with the project would be made.

Further enquiries can be made to principal, Bruce Stephens, or to the investigation report author Bruce Maunsell

Windham-Campbell Prize 2017

Ashleigh Young

Young is the first New Zealander to win the university's Windham-Campbell Prize, worth US$165,000 (NZ$230,000), for her collection of personal essays, Can You Tolerate This? The book was published by Victoria University Press last year.

Young's book of 21 essays traverses topics from Hamilton's nineties music scene to a stone-collecting French postman; and from family histories to Bikram yoga.

It also touches on Young's early life in Te Kuiti.

"A lot of the essays are about really small experiences. In an essay you can validate those experiences somehow and say 'they are meaningful to me'.

"In a funny way too I'm quite proud of my home town, Te Kuiti. It's a surreal thought that such a tiny wee place might get recognition."

The achievement put Young in the same sphere as one of her "absolute heroes", Australian writer Helen Garner, who won the prize last year.

"I can't really accept it quite yet. It still hasn't really sunk in."

The writer was not sure how she would spend her prize money, but first on the list was a proper table and chair for her living room, so she could sit by the window and write.

She also had half-formed plans about ways she might use the money to give back to the community.

"It's completely abstract to me at the moment – about what that [money] means. I don't really want to change my life in any radical way. I love my job, and my bicycle."

Seven other authors spanning fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama were also successful in securing the grant this year. They were set up in 2013 with a gift from the late Donald Windham in memory of his partner of 40 years, Sandy M Campbell.

Young will collect her prize money in September when she goes to the Windham-Campbell festival at Yale. Can You Tolerate This? has also been long-listed for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

- Stuff News