Tawa Squash Club keeps building

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 09:39 12/02/2013
07-KPN-advantageWEB

THE GUN:Evan Williams has been a successful ambassador for squash locally. The club is confident of finding more prodigious talent.

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Tawa Squash Club faces a decision.

An expansion of the club's courts, from three to five, has been in the works for almost a decade and now the architect's plans have been completed, the only question left is - when?

At $1 million, it is not a commitment the club is jumping into lightly.

"The plans are done but we have put things on hold to make sure we have that financial viability together," past president and club committee member Steve Baker said.

"This year is about consolidation but we hope to have the two courts completed by late 2014. What is important is that all our other programmes are going strong. It's very exciting, there is a lot of positive news for us."

The club already has a progressive administration. Gone are the days of a small group dictating strategy, with inclusive, family- oriented approaches now in place.

Thousands of volunteer hours went into upgrading the upstairs area, which houses a pro shop, bar and meeting area.

A squash academy has been established with renowned coach Nick Mita contracted to base himself in Tawa. The next Evan Williams could be coming through the ranks now, president Jane Maginness said. "All coaching goes through Nick; he has the juniors through to the elite programme. He's a fantastic coach and we're very happy to have him here."

There is the hope of getting Tawa College competing at the national level and ventures such as Mums & Bubs are paying off.

In the past seven years membership has climbed from the mid- 200s to more than 300.

Just 50 per cent of members hail from Tawa with 25 per cent living south of the suburb and 25 per cent to the north.

"This club is based in a corridor of one of the fastest-growing parts of the region [Churton Park and Aotea] and we need to take advantage of that," club manager Peter Bowers said.

With two extra courts, the club hopes to swell its numbers to at least 450. Hosting regional and national tournaments, with the ability to seat spectators, will assist the ambition to be the biggest squash club in the region.

"A lot of people have been with Tawa for many years and they are the backbone of the club," Mr Baker said. "The solid foundation is there, and they have that passion but we have so much new blood now. It's a credit to the older members who are embracing the changes."

Raising money for the extra courts will be a priority in the next 12 months, Ms Maginness said. But it is important the day- to-day upkeep of the club is maintained to a degree the members expect in the meantime.

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