Community hub in old Shirley Boys’ High gym to open soon

The Avon Hub work site. Photo: Kate Latimer
The Avon Hub work site. Photo: Kate Latimer
The old Shirley Boys’ High School gym, which is being transformed into a community-based sports and recreational centre, will open its doors early next year.

The North Pde building became empty when the high school moved to a new purpose-built school in New Brighton in May 2019.

The school was demolished, leaving only the gym behind.

A new school is being built on the site for Pareawa Banks Avenue Primary School, which will use the sports and recreation centre, along with other school.

Sports clubs and community groups can hire the venue and outdoor pitches in the evenings.

The gym, function centre and artificial turf, which is collectively known as Avon Hub will be managed by Eastern Community Sport and Recreation.

ECSR community sport manager Kate Latimer said it wants as many community organisations as possible to use the centre.

When the gym was a part of the school it was used by hockey, basketball, volleyball, futsal and badminton clubs.

Latimer said she is looking forward to welcoming the clubs back and plans to add many other activities.

“We are keen to ensure this valuable local asset, which served the high school over several decades, is retained for community use,” she said.

“We’ve worked alongside the Ministry of Education and Pareawa Banks Avenue Primary School to keep the facility thriving so we can maximise its use by local people.”

Latimer said ECSR wants to open the doors to everyone in Shirley and will welcome ideas from anyone about how they can best make it work for the community.

With two schools alongside, there are options for after school and holiday programmes. Offices in the building present the opportunity to sublet, while a kitchen next to the function room will be useful for social events.

Latimer said catering for the disabled and special needs community was one of the goals and the buildings proximity to the Burwood Spinal Unit meant it will be opening its doors to this community.

Avon Hub will also be home to Canterbury Wheelchair Rugby and TIMA, which provides integrated physical opportunities for young people with adapted needs.

Several other local early childhood centres, primary, intermediate and secondary schools which comprise the Ministry’s Ōtākaro  Kāhui Ako group will also have access to the facilities.

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