Community project gives ‘dust bowl’ a new face

Constantia Primary children play soccer on their new Astroturf.

The dream of creating an all-weather sports field on a site that was once a mud bath in winter, and dust bowl in summer, was realised recently.

Philanthropists,including local residents, donors, foundations, local businesses and individuals, joined Constantia Primary pupils and teachers on Friday March 9 to cut the
ribbon on a community project (“School’s dust bowl converted to Astroturf”, Bulletin, February 1). For the past year Brad Bing of Sporting Chance and his tireless helpers Jayne Martin and Jane Roberts, among others, formed a formidable team to raise funds to lay Astroturf on the unkempt corner of the school on the corner of Spaanschemat and Ladies Mile roads.

Constantia residents heard the call and came forward, donating generously both in kind and in finances. “The lighting around the school has been replaced by Eurolux, the trees have been cut back by Krige Trees, SACS primary and high schools donated their second-hand hockey turf to assist in maximising the space, Umzali Civils laid the foundations and paving and Martyn Govender of Perfect Grass laid the turf,” says Mr Bing at the launch.

All they need to do now is pick up the leaves and play sport, according to Mr Govender. He says the dense fake grass is specialised football Astroturf that does not need watering and requires minimum maintenance -no sweeping, just pick up the leaves. He says the pitch has been marked with white lines for soccer and yellow for netball.

Acting principal Daniel “Dot” Borman says it was an emotional day as the 330 pupils gathered on the pitch for the first time. “I’m overwhelmed by the community’s kindness.

“These children are bused in and out of the school but now the Astroturf has been laid we can hold inter-house games, play against other local schools and enjoy sport,” he says.

Mr Borman is no stranger to sport and played soccer professionally, as did his son Danleigh who received a bursary to play soccer professionally in America.

After playing a few games of soccer and netball, pupils and community members who had been involved in the project were treated to music by the Hyde Park Primary band. And then Mr Bing and Mr Borman officially opened the pitch by cutting a ribbon tied to a soccer net.

PupilOlwethuDineso thanked everyone and said they were looking forward to playing sport and making new friends.

Mr Bing says sport contributed to and changed his way of thinking and lifestyle because he played with and against people of different cultures and backgrounds. “It had a great impact on where I am today. It was here that I learned that everyone has leadership ability, but it is the person who wants to be the best, and commits to that desire, who will eventually reach the top,” says Mr Bing. “The playing fields are a bit more level and hopefully this will give the school the opportunity to take its rightful place among the top junior schools in the southern suburbs and we look forward to continuing to be a part of that,” he says.