Stadium Southland opens doors for tours

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2014
Stadium Southland open day
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/Fairfax NZ

GREAT VIEW: Pete Calvert and his 2-year-old son James Calvert, far right, look down from the gantry to the main court during the ILT Stadium Southland open day.

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The $43 million spent building ILT Stadium Southland, was "money well spent", southerners have said.

More than 1500 people flocked to an open day at the stadium yesterday, taking part in guided tours covering not only regularly accessible parts of the facility, but also areas usually closed to the public, including the gantry that overlooks the courts, and storage areas.

Among the visitors was Phyllis Beckett, of Invercargill, who was impressed with the new building.

"I used to come down to see the cycling a lot so I wanted to see what they'd done with the place. It's so impressive . . . it was money well spent." It was obvious the stadium was not just about sport, but about the community, she said.

Stadium general manager Nigel Skelt said the open day was held to show the public where the money was spent. "There is an expectation from the public to see how we spent the money."

That included showing them the technology used to futureproof the venue, and explaining that the stadium was built to 100 per cent of the building code.

"I've been joking with people [on the tour] that if there was a tsunami or earthquake, come down and live with us because it's the safest place to be."

Pete Calvert, a father, of Invercargill, brought his family along to check out the stadium.

Calvert said they had already visited the stadium a few times to watch Sharks games but he was keen to see the kind of technology used and how it worked.

"I'm an electrician so I get all geeky about it," he said.

Skelt said two of the areas that fascinated people most were the pool recovery area, complete with spa pools, and drug testing areas.

"They were understanding that this is what sports teams now require."

Skelt said the open day was not about the Rattle the Tin campaign, but there had been a lot of interest in the "friends of the stadium" wall, which will entitle donors of $100 or more to a brick with their name on it in the stadium.

"There is almost $1.2m in the tin as we speak ... there has been some significant business interest in the last week as well," he said.

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