Mitchell’s Plain pupils will soon be splashing their way across an indoor Olympic size pool at Spine Road High School, in Rocklands.
Spine Road High will be the first school in Mitchell’s Plain to have a pool on the school premises and have raised a whopping R1 million so far to cover the costs.
Construction, which started in September, is expected to be completed before the end of the year – and has ignited a spark of excitement among pupils, teachers and staff.
Principal and chairperson of the Progressive Principals’ Association, Riyaadh Najaar, said the pool has been one of the school’s bucket list items for many years – and now it’s finally happening.
He said this means that the school can now help develop the skills of children who have a talent for water sports.
“Aqua sport in the country is dominated by the advantaged community. Now our children can also take part in aqua sport. We already have swimmers at our schools; now they too can benefit from the facility.
“We are building our pool with our own funds, but there are many schools that can’t afford to do so because of finances. So as the PPA, we look to our Sports and Recreation departments – provincially and nationally – to assist schools in marginalised communities. It is time we bring transformation and level the playing fields in schools,” he said.
Mr Najaar added that the pool would be made available to pupils from other schools as well.
When asked how, with the strict water restrictions currently in place, they would fill the pool, Mr Najaar said there was a well point on the school property from which they would draw the required water.
Of the R1 million that has already been raised, Mr Najaar said: “We have been raising funds in various ways, such as selling items like computer equipment and hiring out the hall. But in order for us to make it a world-class facility, we need more funds, approximately R4 million,” he said.
Sports co-ordinator, Judith Fransman, said she would be able to use the facility for her physical education classes at the school, with lessons including basic swimming and water aerobics.
“The pupils are so excited, they’ve been asking me if they can swim when they come back from their holiday.
“Something like this inspires them and gets them excited, and brings a good spirit to an education environment,” she said.
Competitive swimmer, Courtney-Jae Martheze, who is in Grade 9 at Spine Road High, said the pool would benefit not only those who wanted to take part in water sport, but also those who needed to learn to swim.
Courtney swims for Westridge Swimming Club and participates in swimming galas for Western Province Aquatics.
Courtney has been swimming since the age of 11 and spends three hours a day – every day – training at the gym. “I love swimming. And because I love it so much I train every day in order to excel in the sport.
“I train at the gym because Westridge pool had a crack and thereafter it closed because of water restrictions.
“So, in order for me to train, I have to wait for my parents to transport me (to the gym). But if our school has a pool, it will be easier. I can use it to train and not rush home and have my parents take me,” she said.
Other than being the first school to have a swimming pool, Spine Road High School was also the first Mitchell’s Plain school to obtain a 100 percent matric pass rate – which they achieved in the 2014 National Senior Certificate Examination.
They have also built their own school hall, and recently opened their school library (“Library ticked off Spine Road High’s bucket list, Plainsman, September 20).