Major Thames projects rise from the ground 27 December 2016 Two community sport and recreational facilities being built in Thames have reached the key milestone of rising from the ground: the indoor sports facility at Thames High School and the skate and scooter park at Porritt Park. (Photo: The new indoor sports facility at Thames High School will be a two-court facility for joint school and community use.) Builders have been swarming over both sites, laying foundations and doing other essential work that will provide a sound platform for each facility. Over at Thames High School, the concrete strip foundations are mostly poured and masonry block walls are rising from the ground across the site. A new main stormwater line is currently being installed across the playing field to connect with existing stormwater infrastructure. On the other side of Rolleston Street, construction of the car park is well underway. Retaining walls have been put in, kerb and channelling is being formed and the base is being prepared to be paved. When work resumes in January after the Christmas/New Year's break, the masonry work will continue, the gaps around the foundations will be backfilled and steel framework will begin to be assembled for the main structure. Visible progress will be rapid from this point on. The new indoor sports facility is being built right next door to the existing one at the high school, making it a two-court venue that will be suitable for hosting senior-level tournaments for netball, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and other sports. For many years, sports clubs and the high school have been constrained by the limited facilities available in the Thames area for indoor sports. High school teams and community sports clubs are competing for the limited space and time available and this situation has not allowed for programme growth. The $4.8 million facility is a joint project of our Council, Thames High School and the Thames Sport and Education Community Trust. The project has had tremendous support from the community, with donations exceeding the initial fundraising targets. Of the project budget, $850,000 is from grants, $380,000 is from pledged community fundraising and sponsorship, $440,000 from Thames High School, and the remainder from our Council. Thames skate and scooter park At Porritt Park, the foundations and other features of the skate and scooter park are also rising from the ground. We worked with skaters on the design of this family-friendly facility that has the potential for a future pump track extension. It features mini ramps and a quarter pipe and other challenges to suit a variety of users. We expect the skate park to be complete by the April school holidays. The skate park is being built where the replica Wakatere play boat once stood. It proved too expensive to bring up to modern playground standards, and as it was about to be removed, asbestos was found in the sub-structure. The replica Wakatere was removed in compliance with legislated requirements for work involving asbestos. But, to preserve the memory of both the replica Wakatere play boat, and the original paddle steamer Wakatere, which plied the Hauraki Gulf between Auckland and Thames 100 years ago, the Lions Club of Thames have put up a sign at Porritt Park that explores the history of both the original Wakatere and the replica. The Thames Lions built the replica play boat in 1969. Now they have contributed once again to Porritt Park, to ensure residents and visitors know about this vessel that played a key part in the early development of Thames. For more information on both the new indoor sports facility and the skate and scooter park, go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/thamessportsfacilities Wakatere story-board sign (The Thames Lions Club has paid for a sign depicting the history of the original Wakatere paddle steamer and the replica Wakatere play boat, which the Thames Lions built in 1969. Left to right: Thames Community Board Chair Diane Connors with Thames Lions John Trebilcock (Lion Tamer), Shane Dinneen (Membership Manager) and Michael Kemp (President).) Donations to playground (Photo, left to right: Thames Rotary Club Secretary Hywel Bowen, Thames Community Board Chair Diane Connors and TCDC Community Development Officer Marlene Perry.) Also at Porritt Park, the second of two donated items has been installed: a drinking fountain that is accessible for children and people with disabilities. Thames Rotary Club has paid the $5,000 cost of the fountain that is located behind the toilet block, within easy reach of thirsty children who have been busy on the playground. "We're very proud at Thames Rotary Club to pay for this fountain," says Hywel Bowen, Secretary of Thames Rotary. "We're a club that raises money in the community for things in the community, and when you see the youth are going to use this for refilling bottles and refilling mouths - it's great. We're very proud to do it. Enjoy yourselves kids. Enjoy yourselves Thames." One of the pieces of playground equipment the children will have been playing on is a new Kompan Climby Shifter, which retails for $20,000. This item has been paid for by our Parks and Reserves contractor Smart Environmental and was installed in November, at the same time as a new swing that includes two infant seats and a seat that is suitable for disabled children as well as babies who normally can't use swings because they need head support. Also in November, the Playco train that had been put into storage has been reinstalled in a new location in Porritt Park further away from the site where the new skate and scooter park is being built. Another piece of play equipment has been ordered and due for delivery in March next year. A Kompan Double Miram has been kindly funded by the Potter Masonic Trust. This piece of equipment will be installed between the skate and scooter park and the playground. The Double Miram has two skateboard-like platforms fixed to rails to give children the experience of skateboarding without needing their own board. Watch this space. The work on Porritt Park is all part of an upgrade to the Coromandel's favourite playground that has seen a new toilet block, new playground equipment, and, come April, the completion of the skate and scooter park.