A new 427-metre bike track will be wheely good fun for Kaponga Primary School pupils.
The bike track was opened last week and principal Shane Downs says pupils have enjoyed using the track during interval and lunchtime.
"They're excited about it and we're happy to provide this track for our school whānau and the wider community."
Shane says the idea for the bike track was put into motion at the 2020 Preston Engineering Kaponga Primary Hardpark event.
"We had raised money for the track there. The PTA decided a bike track would be beneficial for our students and the community. It would also make use of the big field we have here at school."
Shane says he visited different schools, including St Josephs School Ōpunake, to have a look at their bike parks.
"St Josephs School Ōpunake really caught my eye. They had the track we were going for."
The money for the bike park was raised at the 2020 Hardpark event as well as received from various funders and the PTA.
"Once we worked out our plan, we applied for funding. The Taranaki Electricity Trust gave us $9000, the Pelorus Trust gave us $10,000 and we received $5000 from the South Taranaki District Council discretionary fund."
He says the school is thankful to those who gave funds, but also to those who donated their time and efforts into getting the bike park finished.
"We were ready to start in July 2021 but it was too wet so we waited for drier weather. Once it was dry we dug out the track the first week of the October school holidays and then throughout the year we had the materials dropped off at school. Once we were back this year we had the time to complete the track."
Last Monday tractors and volunteers were at the school to add the final touches to the track.
"They smoothed the track down and then put in the jumps. The Preston Family Trust helped with the digger work. Fitzgerald Contracting removed the soil off-site and Sandfords delivered the materials for the bike track. It took 34 truckloads of fines to create the track. The PTA members also brought tractors. Burgess and Crowley and other companies and people helped as well.
He says the school is thinking of options for bike storage.
"We're thinking about a safe place for students to store their bikes, but also to get bikes for the students. We have a town and farming community here and not everyone can bring their bike in. We don't want anyone to miss out."
The next step is to utilise more of the field.
"We're trying to move away from the traditional field. We still have soccer and rugby fields but we're thinking to add orchards, plants and other things to make it a nice area for our students. We have a big field, about the size of a rugby field and we want to utilise it better."