Gallagher Recreation Centre a milestone accomplishment
9 Feb 2023, 9:27 PM
THE dream of building and operating a multi-sport and recreation complex for the Waitomo district community and Waikato region, will finally be realised on Saturday when the Gallagher Recreation Centre opens its doors to the public for the first time.
It has been years in the making and the culmination of many hours of hard work, community drive, fundraising, sponsorship, and partnership.
Waitomo Mayor John Robertson says the journey the project has taken from conception to realisation has been lengthy, but well worth the time and energy.
“The official opening of the Gallagher Recreation Centre is a momentous occasion for the Waitomo District and one to be celebrated.
“We now have a multi-million dollar asset in our community that will be used and enjoyed for many years to come.
“There are so many people, organisations and companies that have contributed to this project to ensure its success, and I thank each and every one.
“Importantly, if it wasn’t for the significant financial contributions from our major funders and sponsors, we would likely still be at the drawing board looking for ways to fund this stadium without burdening our ratepayers.”
The concept of an Indoor sports facility was first floated in 2014, and the Game on Charitable Trust was later formed by a small group of locals to advance it.
In 2018, Waitomo District Council granted $1.5 million to the Trust to assist its fundraising efforts, and in 2021, a Steering Group was formed to obtain further funding and ensure the project reached its milestones.
“In 2021 we worked hard to get the business case knocked into shape so that it was sustainable without requiring ratepayer subsidy. We needed a fixed price contract to ensure it would be built, and also be completed on time and on budget,” says Mayor Robertson.
A total of $8.9 million was raised, including Council’s contribution. The funds covered site development and construction costs.
Further funds were raised by the community through the Game on Trust to cover fit-out, and sponsorship deals with Gallagher, Graymont and
The Lines Company were obtained to ensure the stadium would be financially sustainable over the coming years.
Mayor Robertson says the full realisation of the Gallagher Recreation Centre was also achieved thanks to a unique partnership agreement with Waitomo District Council, the Ministry of Education and the Te Kuiti High School Board where joint ownership is a shared arrangement - WDC 65% and MOE and TKHS 35%. WDC is the lead partner.
The Gallagher Recreation Centre has been developed to serve a variety of local and sub-regional sports, recreation, fitness and well-being outcomes.
It features two full sized basketball courts, a fitness centre, a multipurpose room, changing rooms, offices and a kitchen facility.
Netball, indoor volleyball, badminton and futsal can also be played on the courts.
The fitness centre, managed by Belgravia Leisure, will be open to the public, and the courts will be available outside of school hours, or at other times agreed with the school.
WDC and Te Kūiti High School have been working collaboratively with Ngāti Rōrā - mana whenua to organise the official opening.
The ceremony will be led by Ngāti Rōrā, who will unveil a special name alongside other taonga/cultural embellishments in the facility at the dawn ceremony on Saturday.
It will be an event not to be missed.