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Water skiersGeorge Donaldson, Emily Milner and Hugh Donaldson finished last weekend’s shortened Oz-Kiwi Challenge with positive results. Photo supplied.It wasn’t all plain sailing, but three Ashburton water-skiing dynamos walked away from last weekend’s Oz-Kiwi Challenge with positive results.

Competing at Myuna Bay in New South Wales, brothers Hugh and George Donaldson and fellow Ashburton local, Emily Milner all walked away with podium finishes for their efforts during an interrupted competition which was halted due to involvement from the local council.

On Friday afternoon, just two days into the four-day tournament, organisers were advised by local government officials that the tournament had to be shut down immediately following a report on a nearby dam which suggested there was a low-risk breach in a major earthquake.

With no consultation with the local ski club, the announcement was a shock to all involved and left organisers scrambling to get through the final stages of the Friday competition before packing up and getting off site.

Discussions were held around moving the championships to the closest available location which was three hours away but it was deemed unfeasible.

Despite the shortened nature of the challenge, the results still flowed for the three Ashburton skiers.

Both George and Emily came away with bronze medals while Hugh finished fourth.

In outstanding form in the Under 21 men’s category, George picked up New Zealand’s top score and in particular shone with a score of two bouys on a 12 metre line in the slalom, no easy feat on salt water, which makes turns tricky.

In the tricks section he scored well, just nudging twin-brother Hugh out for the bronze medal.

The sibling rivalry continued into the jumps section with Hugh turning the tables with a personal best of 51.3 metres and then 51.4 metres. In the Under 17 girls’ event, Milner was in great form and could hold claim to being the last ever skier to go over the Myuna Bay ski jump.

She jumped personal bests in both rounds of jumps with a 32.7 metre on her final jump enough for the silver medal. As well as her jumps medal, she won bronze in both slalom and tricks which was enough to secure her the overall bronze medal.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 5 April 2019

260813 KC 259 ashburton college CCThe new Ashburton College will be built to match the specific needs of its own community rather than being built to a generic secondary school model, said principal Ross Preece.

Three weeks ago Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $50 million rebuild of the 50-year-old college and this week, the details of that rebuild have been spelled out. And it’s all good news, Preece said.

“The master plan is being composed and, while we don’t know what’s in it, we know we’ll have the opportunity to have significant input.

“The ministry will now consult us about what’s required for our school, it will be about what’s best for us.”

Because the college had vacant land the build could start without disrupting current classrooms. These would gradually be demolished as new blocks were commissioned and in terms of design the new school will only be one storey because the college has a large landholding.

If there was any downside as the college project team moved into the early planning stages, it was that the ministry put the project’s completion date as the start of the 2025 school year, Preece said.

“That’s a bit of a downer but it’ll be worth the wait. For any school principal the only thing better than this would be opening a brand new school.”

The rest of this year would be taken up with planning the project. This will be followed by site master plan work before up to 18 months of design work commenced. Construction is likely to start in 2022 and take up to three years.

The new school would be built to accommodate a roll of up to 1600 students.

While support space infrastructure would be built for that number of students, classroom space would initially be for 1300 with the ability to add more classrooms as needed.

The college’s rebuild project team already has a clear idea of the teaching spaces the new school should have – specialist teaching rooms such as science labs and technology workshops, single cell classrooms and flexible spaces with breakout rooms, where three classes can come together.

“We’re now at a stage where we’ll invite staff to visit other schools and we’ll talk to colleagues about what has and hasn’t worked in other schools. We want to make sure we get our design right,” Preece said.

He is also keen to see corridors minimised and for as many classrooms as possible to have an indoor-outdoor flow.

“We’re pretty excited about this. It’ll provide a state-of-the-art college for Mid Canterbury.”

The college will be the largest remodel of any Ministry of Education project in the South Island, he said.

By Sue Newman © The Ashburton Guardian - 4 April 2019

They went through the whole week unbeaten, but Ashburton College’s girls’ softball team fell at the final hurdle at the national softball championship softball tournament last week.

ashcoll softball girlsAshburton College’s girls’ softballers who finished second in the secondary school nationals division two competition last week. Photo supplied.After seeing off challenges from all-comers in the seven-team division two draw last week in Christchurch, Ashburton College took on Southland Girls’ High School in the division two final and having beaten them 6-4 in round robin, had to be the favourites to take it out.

But, Southland had other ideas and got home 14-12 to take the title.

The side’s coach Pat Patea said it was a great effort by his young side, which featured only a couple of players who plied their trade in Christchurch competitions, including pitcher Kate Flanagan.

Patea said he really had no idea what to expect from the side ahead of the tournament.

“I never had a goal, it was just to play game by game and see how everything went,” Patea said.

So to finish as runners-up was an outstanding achievement.

The Ashburton College boys were also in action at the tournament. They finished fifth out of nine teams.

The MVPs for the Ashburton College teams were Gemma Taylor for the girls, and Jacob Gray for the boys.

Mid Canterbury Softball’s Richie Johnstone said the results were Ashburton College’s best ever at the tournament.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 1 April 2019