Bayfield gets to try its new gym

Stage one of Bayfield High School's new gymnasium was opened and christened with a netball game between senior pupils and an all-star team of teachers yesterday.

After formal speeches by Labour MP David Benson-Pope, Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin and principal Denis Slowley, the senior netball team wasted little time in showing its sporting prowess over the all-star teachers team, winning 19-17.

Acting principal Mike Beagley said the project began in term 4 last year after the school board of trustees approached the Ministry of Education for funding to upgrade the school's "undersized" facilities.

Stage one of the construction, the playing surface and fittings, was completed recently at a cost of $1.8 million, he said.

"The top-grade sprung wooden floor is great for basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton, and futsal, while the drop-down curtain can divide the gym into two large teaching spaces, meaning that different groups can use the gym at the same time.

"As a school, we are delighted to see the culmination of three years of hard work with the opening of our new gymnasium.

"This will greatly enhance Bayfield's physical education programme since it will no longer be at the mercies of the inclement weather, of which Dunedin has had so much lately."

Mr Beagley said stage two would begin early next year and would see the addition of a storeroom, offices, toilets and a foyer.

The final stage involved the construction of a multipurpose classroom space, changing facilities, upstairs offices and a workroom.

"This final stage will mean that all of the physical education facilities are under the same roof," he said.

Mr Beagley said the school was looking forward to hosting sports exchanges and inter-school competitions without having to go offcampus.

The gymnasium was officially opened by Mr Benson-Pope, a former teacher at the school who in both a public and personal capacity, had been supportive of the project.