Student leaders at Matamata College are genuinely excited by the prospect of the school hosting the proposed indoor sports and recreation hub. “It is incredibly positive for the community,” says 2021 Head Boy and Girl, Ben Pilmore-Evans and Casey Jones.
They say the multi-purpose facility, to be built on college grounds, will be a “good bridge” between the college and wider community. Ben and Casey also see the hub as a link with nearby Matamata
Intermediate and Firth Primary School.
Matamata College has two ageing indoor sports facilities which Ben and Casey say are simply “not up to code”. “They are really just good for PE (physical education) classes or training.”
Casey, herself a volleyball player, says the college can’t host games as the Bradley Gym roof is too low. “There’s also not as much room as you need behind the courts for a running serve.”
Matamata College has junior/senior/boys/girls volleyball teams, with players regularly featuring in Waikato secondary schools and national representative sides Basketball has also grown in popularity at the college in recent years, while badminton and indoor netball are other likely users of the new hub.
Given Matamata’s central position in between Hamilton and Tauranga, Casey says the new hub could host regional
sports tournaments. This has already happened with the Astroturf hockey field at the college. Ben says the hub would also “open up opportunities” for new sports to become part of the college programme. Lacrosse is an example of an outdoor sport which has become popular at the college in recent years. Ben and Casey
say every year the college has promising sportspeople who often have to travel out of town to train and play. “This is a barrier
for those that struggle to afford it.” They also believe that the hub will “keep more students here” rather than attending secondary schools in other areas with better indoor sports facilities. While both are heading to university next year, both recognise the importance of the hub for future generations.
The two-court facility, off Station Rd, will cost around $7 million to build. The aim is to commence construction in the summer
of 2022-2023, with completion in mid 2023. Along with the two indoor courts, the hub will also include a multi-purpose
room and viewing lounge. Use will be split 70 per cent community and 30 per cent schools. The facility will be owned by
council and managed by a charitable trust including representatives from Matamata Futures, Sport Waikato, iwi, council and
the wider community. A professional sports manager will run the operation on a day-to-day basis. For further information,
including progress reports and sponsorship opportunities, check out the project website: www.matamatastadium.co.nz and follow Matamata Indoor Sports & Recreation Hub on Facebook, Instagram
Story written by Steve Edwards.