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New upgrade . . . Eastern Southland Basketball Association committee member Erin Howes is excited to get renovations of the roof and the south wall of Archer Stadium underway early next year. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

The home of one of Eastern Southland’s most popular sports will receive a $170,000 upgrade, the first in 35 years.

The Eastern Southland Basketball Association’s Archer Stadium will be reroofed and the south wall of the building, where changing rooms and toilets are located, will be revamped.

The last major renovation occurred in 1984, when a social room, kitchen and storage area were added.

The project has received $50,000 from Community Trust South and was waiting to hear back if another substantial grant had been successful.

Association committee member Erin Howes was rapt with the support the project had received.

“We’ve not received significant amounts of funding from [Community Trust South] for a long time,” she said.

“They have been incredibly generous with their funding because they recognise for the most part we’ve been quite self-sufficient and the response we’ve had in relation to this project has been really exceptional.

“We’re really grateful.”

The association was working through other funding options and would also contribute to the project.

Roof renovations, which required major scaffolding, would start early next year.

“We can’t do anything until the roof is done, so once it’s done we can look on to upgrade the wall with the facilities.”

Also planned was an update of the kitchen to complement the new social area, which was completed by the association earlier this year.

The upgrades to the Avon St stadium were necessary, she said.

“These things are big capital spends to get it so it’s safe and so this thing can stand for the next 50 years.

“We’re really excited about doing this and it’s really important.”

These projects took priority on the association’s “wish list”.

“We have the right people on the committee for this major project. It takes a village.”

It was hoped basketball could be played in the stadium while renovations occurred.

“Basketball will not stop.”

Between 850 and 950 people took part in the sport each year – “it’s unisex, it’s a cheaper sport and it’s well organised.”

The stadium was used from February to December, for main-season basketball, miniball and representative games.

The association’s five-to-10-year plan was in the early stages of looking at the possibility of a second court in the future, Howes said.

The project would be finished within a year.