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Practice makes perfect... Northern Southland College hockey players Megan Lowe (left) and Izac Elder (Both 15) are looking forward to practising on the new turf that has be laid at the college.

It took only two years for the dream of a multipurpose turf at Northern Southland College to become a reality. Work was completed on the college’s new $170,000 turf, which includes four tennis courts, three netball courts, a futsal field and a half-sized hockey turf, last month.

Principal Mike Newell said the turf came to fruition after the college received $132,000 in grants from the Lotteries Commission, the Community Trust of Southland and the Southland District Council.

“It was all pretty quick thanks to their funding,” Mr Newell said. The college’s parent teacher association made a significant contribution after raising about $35,000 at the Waimumu Southern Field Days, he said.

The turf was located where the previous asphalt courts had been. Mr Newell was delighted to be able to provide a top-of-the-line turf for the college and community. “We’re pretty chuffed with how it’s turned out. “It’s great for the community. Something like this could be all that’s needed to get Lumsden tennis up and going again _ it’s great to have the opportunity to keep the community active,” he said.

The turf tied in with the opening of a bike park at Lumsden School last month, he said. “It gives the community something to be proud of.”

The turf had already been used by physical education classes, children during break times, members of the community and sport teams, he said. Mr Newell described the sand-based turf as impressive. “It’s newer technology so it’s a real step up with this technology. It’s a much better surface for us.” It allowed pupils the opportunity to have training sessions at their school, especially for hockey. “It’s the end of a full hockey field, so it’s a defensive goal for them to practise, which is great,” Mr Newell said.

The turf required regular maintenance to keep it in pristine condition. “We have to make sure there’s only sports footwear worn on it and remove any leaves and grass that land on it.”

“It needs a chemical spray once a term and once a year it needs a special brush to go over it,” Mr Newell said.

Hockey player Megan Lowe (15) said she was looking forward to being able to take part in hockey practices on the turf.

“The turf will be a great addition to the school because it will save lots of travelling to practices,” she said.

Mr Newell said that in the future, the college would look into installing floodlights for the turf to be used at night-time.

The college would host an opening for the turf once it had received proper fencing and signage in the coming weeks.