A crowd of 10,000 is expected later this month to attend the grand opening of the Kilbirnie Indoor Community Sports Centre.
Wellington City Council's $47.5 million centre will fling its doors open on August 27 with a celebrity basketball match.
Each of the centre's 12 courts will host a different sport throughout the day in which the public will be invited to participate.
Some community sports are scheduled to take place straight after the open day, though for its first few weeks the venue will be used as an indoor training centre for all the teams that will be based in or around Wellington during the Rugby World Cup.
But centre manager Craig Hutchings stressed that the venue was for community sport, so don't expect to see the Pulse playing their Trans-Tasman League matches there, or Wellington Saints thrashing opponents in the NBL.
"There will be a diversity of community activity here. No one sport will dominate.
"Just to kick things off we will have netball, basketball and volleyball – they were the core codes that recognised what was needed to grow their sport [when they suggested an indoor centre about 12 years ago]."
Futsal, or indoor soccer, is a sport that didn't figure in the initial plans for the centre but its rapid growth over recent years had changed that, Mr Hutchings said. "Netball, basketball and Capital Football's futsal will base their admin offices here."
But minor sports such as European handball, korfball and Ultimate Disc will also get to use the 12 courts. "People might say what are those sports all about but, because they will be played on courts next to mainstream sports, people watching will get to know them and want to play them."
It would take until October 25 for the centre to be fully functional and it is expected to be running at full capacity – from 7am until 10pm, seven days a week – by the beginning of the 2012 school year.
Contributing to that is a new concept called Sports Hall Athletics, which will see schoolchildren, especially from primary schools, spend time at the centre doing basic gymnastics to co-ordinate jumping, throwing and catching.
Schools will also use the centre during the day to play up to seven separate sports.
The council has budgeted for the centre to make an operating loss of just over $5m in the year that started on July 1.
- The Dominion Post
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