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New artificial turf is the real deal

Marlborough is set to benefit from a state-of-the-art artificial hockey turf to be built at Marlborough Girls’ College.

Marlborough District Council has negotiated a long-term lease to build a new international-standard turf at the college’s campus – the site of Blenheim’s future co-located colleges – after agreeing to an early exit of its College Park lease on Stephenson Street.

Councillor Matt Flight, who holds the Council’s sports field portfolio, said the new facility would be an asset for both the community and the girls’ and boys’ colleges, which will have use of the turf during school hours as part of the agreement reached with the Ministry of Education.

Subject to resource consent, the agreement secures a long-term home for Hockey Marlborough, which is currently based at College Park. Council is also in discussion with the Blenheim Roller Skating Club about alternative locations for their sport.

Councillor Flight said the Council’s College Park lease had been due to expire in 2028, and staff had been working with affected sports users including Hockey Marlborough and the Blenheim Roller Skating Club this year to find alternative locations for their sports.

He said funding for construction of the turf and rink would be covered by compensation the Council received from the Ministry of Education for the early termination of its College Park lease, so the cost to ratepayers would be minimal.

Construction of the artificial turf is planned to begin on a section of the Marlborough Girls’ College sports field once resource consent had been obtained, with access off the school’s bus lane on Nelson Street. Changing rooms will also be built, along with car parking.

The Marlborough Girls’ College site is owned by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kuia and leased to the Crown. Dave Johnston, Tumu Whakarae/General Manager of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Kuia Trust said that the Rūnanga is pleased that the property will provide a home for the facility.

"This will be a brilliant facility that will benefit the community and ākonga who attend the colleges."

Marlborough Girls’ College Board Chair, Brian Roughan, welcomed the artificial turf to the school’s campus and as a valued feature of the future co-located colleges’ campus.

“Having this first-class, multi-purpose community facility on-site and accessible to all students will be a major asset for both colleges as well as the wider community,” Mr Roughan said.

The agreement makes way for Bohally Intermediate School to be relocated to College Park.

Ministry of Education project director for Te Tātoru o Wairau, Simon Trotter, said that master planning for the intermediate had taken into consideration feedback from neighbouring residents, and the project team was looking forward to sharing the master plans for the three schools with the community early next year.

“Although the master plans aren’t finalised yet, we are confident that the location for the turf works well on the co-located campus site,” Mr Trotter said.

Hockey Marlborough’s Andy Rowe said the association was pleased with progress on a replacement artificial hockey turf.

“The proposed site will give us an international-class pitch to replace our current one with similar amenities but fully modernised,” Mr Rowe said. He said that hockey would continue to be played at College Park until the new turf had been built.

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