Twi­light gala to raise the roof


A school pool is cool. Not only does it give hot sum­mer bod­ies a chance to chill, but splash­ing about in one is great ex­er­cise, while a fur­ther ben­e­fit is learn­ing to swim.

Mil­son School teach­ers take their classes for two sched­uled swim ses­sions a week in the school’s cov­ered pool. It’s also used for sub­sidised af­ter school classes from a qual­i­fied swim in­struc­tor. Mak­ing sure kids are equipped with wa­ter skills at school is some­thing that will last them into adult­hood, and per­haps, who knows, cul­ti­vate a new gen­er­a­tion of com­pet­i­tive swim­mers.

More im­por­tantly, with the in­crease in drown­ing sta­tis­tics, hav­ing those skills and be­ing able to swim could one day save a life.

Prin­ci­pal of the year 1-6, decile4 school, Vanessa Pitt says an ad­van­tage that her school pool has is its roof. The opaque cor­ru­gated cov­er­ing ex­tends the school’s swim­ming sea­son into the au­tumn.

The down­side is that now, the roof erected be­tween 20 and 30 years ago, needs re­plac­ing. And while the school’s bud­get cov­ers the pool’s sea­sonal op­er­at­ing costs, the cov­er­ing is a com­mu­nity owned fa­cil­ity, mak­ing its re­place­ment in­el­i­gi­ble for a Min­istry of Education grant.

‘‘It’s not worth re­pair­ing, and it’s a lot big­ger job than it looks. It needs re­plac­ing. The only other op­tion is to take the cladding off and leave it off. Then the pool is not all-weather, and there are se­cu­rity is­sues.’’

The cov­er­ing means the 17-me­tre pool can be se­cured. With­out it, the fa­cil­ity is vul­ner­a­ble.

‘‘We’ve had a rough quote to re­place it of $40,000. For a small com­mu­nity, that’s quite a bit,’’ Vanessa says. ‘‘Our school com­mu­nity is made up of hard­work­ing par­ents who don’t have a lot of spare cash.’’

That school com­mu­nity and its ded­i­cated PTA have de­cided that the in­vest­ment of time, en­ergy and re­sources into rais­ing money for the pool roof is worth­while. So, let the fundrais­ing be­gin. The first event to­wards rais­ing the cash takes place at the school at the end of Rut­land Pl this Fri­day night. The school is hold­ing a twi­light gala from 5pm – 8pm.

‘‘It’ll be a tra­di­tional gala with bouncy cas­tle, food stalls, raf­fles and op­por­tu­ni­ties for fam­ily fun – like sponge the prin­ci­pal!’’ Vanessa widens her eyes in mock an­guish.

‘‘We’re com­bin­ing it with a ‘meet the teacher whanau evening’, and the kids can be out on the grounds en­joy­ing them­selves.’’


Ethan Daven­port-Hewitt, 9, Alysha Smith, 10, Chris Greig, 8, Abbey Ken­dall, 9, Do­minic Smith, 9, Kayleigh Greig, 10 all en­joy a dip in the Mil­son School pool. They are look­ing for­ward to Fri­day’s twi­light gala to­wards rais­ing $40,000 to re­place the pool roof.

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