Splashing good time in Khandallah
Khandallah schoolchildren will be able to swim without being rained on, thanks to a new pool building.
The building, mainly funded by a $420,000 grant from Wellington City Council, was opened on Thursday in a function attended by 200 parents, officials and excited pupils.
City councillor Andy Foster blew ceremonial bubbles with the schoolchildren to launch the new facility.
Khandallah schoolchildren sang the Split Enz hit Six Months in a Leaky Boat, a reference to the previous pool building, which dripped with condensation.
The school is the first to significantly benefit from the council's $2 million School Pools Partnership fund.
Mr Foster said the council's one-off $420,000 grant for the building was a good investment, because it would host 40,000 community swimming lessons a year.
"Long-term the actual cost of the building comes in at less than $1 a swimming lesson," he said.
"For the council, swimming lessons is our highest priority, more so than fitness and lane swimming. Learn-to-swim literally saves lives."
Khandallah School board of trustees chairwoman Catherine Cooper said the pool, which was a community asset, would probably have been closed without the council grant.
"The cost of replacing it seemed insurmountable with the funding challenges we had.
"A huge thank you goes to Wellington City Council for allowing us to save this pool."
Mr Foster said that the previous 50 year-old building had no ventilation and spectators were getting dripped on. "It literally rained inside."
Khandallah was the first school to receive funding because it was the first to get organised and because it had a sound operation in place already, he said.
"They are a model example for others," Mr Foster said.
Khandallah School principal Louise Green praised the work of her board in securing the council funds, part of a total building cost of $550,000, with the rest raised by the school from fairs and sponsored murals on the pool.
"They were planning and plotting as soon as they realised there was some money available," she said.
Khandallah School is already taking advantage of its new building, with senior swimming at the school going full-steam-ahead in term two, to prepare for the northern zone swimming champs in August.
Wellington East Girls' College, Berhampore School and Tawa School have also received funding under the School Pools Partnership Fund.
Photo 1: BUBBLY TIME: Khandallah School pupils blow ceremonial bubbles at the pool building opening on Thursday.
Photo 3: SPLASHING OUT: Khandallah School pupils kick-off the opening of their new pool building in style.
PHOTOS: Chris Hyde