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Construction site . . . Ajax Building director Greg McIntosh and Eastern Southland Hockey Association president Janette Collins look over the plans for the new pavilion. Builders started work last week on the site where the present pavilion will be moved too before the new pavilion can be built in its place. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Builders have “started turning the dirt” for the new $600,000 Eastern Southland Hockey Association pavilion.

Ajax Building Contractors last week began building the foundation of the site where the present pavilion will be moved to.

Ajax director Greg McIntosh said the foundation would take about a week to build, after which a crane would move the old pavilion to its new site.

Work would begin on the new two-storey pavilion in about three weeks, he said.

Eastern president Janette Collins said it was great renovations at the Gore Hockey Turf were finally under way.

“It feels so good to finally be starting the pavilion.”

Summer league hockey would continue while the renovations took place but the turf would have a new entrance, she said.

The ground floor of the new pavilion would house two changing rooms, two toilet blocks, showers and storage room.

An open viewing area for spectators to enjoy the matches being played on the turf would be on the second floor along with a kitchenette area.

The viewing area would be a similar size to the old pavilion, she said.

“The old pavilion will be used for storage of historic documents, for the Hockey Southland manager and wheelchair access.”

The new pavilion will not have wheelchair access.

“The old pavilion can still be used for people to watch from the deck but the new one will provide only a little bit of shelter.”

Eastern had 627 players involved in summer league, junior and adult games, which created the demand for new facilities.

“We’ve grown substantially, with lots of grandparents and parents coming down to watch.

“We wanted somewhere sheltered and accessible for them all to be able to enjoy the sport,” Ms Collins said.

The new pavilion would also provide a social area for the hockey community.

“We’ve noticed, especially around the year 9-10 age, they enjoy having access to the turf to come down, play and also hang out together.”

While it would be primarily a hockey facility, it would also be an asset for the whole community.

“We want it to become more multipurpose for renting options for community groups to use it as well,” she said.

The pavilion has been in the works since early last year, Ms Collins having worked alongside association property representative Vince Ainsley and treasurer Bridget Stevenson to bring the project to fruition.

Four grants were received this year, triggering approval for work to start on the new facility.

The Trusts Community Foundation gave $200,000 on behalf of the Mataura Licensing Trust, Community Trust South contributed $150,000, the Southland District Council put forward $10,000 and a $100,000 Lottery Community Facilities grant was gained.

The Gore District Council put $10,000 towards the pavilion last month.

Eastern Southland Hockey contributed $100,000 towards the project and the committee was waiting for two smaller grants to be approved, she said.

The new pavilion was expected to completed by April next year.