SUVA GRAMMAR SCHOOL AQUATIC CENTRE

Pause for a moment and imagine the realisation of a long-held dream…

grammar school

I’ve enclosed a photo of the new Sunshine Coast Grammar School Aquatic Centre above as an inspiration for you to visualise what it would be like to have our own Suva Grammar School Aquatic Centre.

The addition of a state of the art Suva Grammar School Aquatic Centre to the world-class learning environment at Suva Grammar provides opportunities for excellence in academic studies, the arts and the sporting arena.

What does that feel like to you? Can you feel what I felt whenever I went swimming in our school pool?

Can you remember the occasions when we went into the pool fully dressed and discarded one piece of clothing each time we walked across the pool until we were down to our bathers? What fun!

It was all a part of helping us as young students to become comfortable in the water, especially since the Fiji islands are surrounded by water.

And then there were the swimming competitions and the training and preparing for school meets and South Pacific Games selection. There were so many friendships formed through swimming.

Extending Sporting and Educational Opportunities:

I know you all agree that an impressive Grammar Aquatic Centre will extend on the substantial sporting and educational opportunities for both the school community and the Suva region.

A state-of-the-art facility located on the site of the old swimming pool would house a FINA certified 50m school pool, which allows students the opportunity to train and compete at an international standard.

It would include an enclosed 15m learn-to-swim pool, undercover grandstand seating for visitors, and a private function area.

Such an impressive facility would also provide a range of elite curricular, co-curricular and other commercial opportunities for other schools in the Suva area.

A Grammar ‘Learn to Swim’ program would welcome families from across Suva. The Aquatic Centre would offer a seamless pathway for children looking to develop their skills in squad training right through to national swimming pathways, the South Pacific Games and the Olympic Games.

The aquatic centre will become an impressive asset for the wider Suva community with the facilities available to hire, and families from across the region welcomed at the Grammar Swim School.

Grammar students will celebrate the milestone of a completed Suva Grammar School Aquatic Centre with a big splash, testing the pool waters with a commemorative swim.

Maureen Thaggard writes:

“I would like to raise a concern about the pool at Suva Grammar, Veiuto. There has been so much talk about it with no good answers as to what’s the update on it.

The board has been saying they are on it from 2017 since my boy was in yr 1. He’s in yr 3 now but there’s no change with the pool. We have to fork out $5 every week for their swimming lessons at the Olympic pool every week for 10-weeks, which is a large amount of money for some parents that have more than 3-4 kids.

So I’m wondering if there’s something we can do to fix the pool. Let’s bring back the old SGS pool we used to have and use back in the 90s… Both SGS and VPS can use it, not forgetting SPS.

I’m suggesting we have it looked at, get quote for repairs, and each child can give $40 or $50 for the repairs or otherwise. Fix the pool and use it instead of going to the public pool. Then charge schools that may want use the pool too to generate additional income for Suva Grammar.

Just my 2 cents worth… My hubby and I would be grateful to fork out $$$ for the Suva Grammar pool project, for the benefit of our young ones at Veiuto and SGS. We’ve been meeting with old scholars the past years giving $$$ but nothing has come from it so far.

Hope you take my request into great consideration. Looking forward to your favourable reply. Thanks.”

Principal Mr Chandra Segran Pillay

Suva Grammar Principal Mr Chandra Segran Pillay said the state-of-the-art facility would be a valuable investment into the future to enhance learning opportunities for students. Mr Pillay writes:

“We have a working Old Scholars Association (Grammar Rise Up – GRU) and a PTA. These bodies support me with extracurricular activities and academic improvement (extra classes, tuitions). The Associations have managed to convince the PM’s Office to look into our swimming pool. The PM’s Office has called tenders for scoping and I hope to see another tender called for the renovations.”

How To Make The Long-Held Dream A Reality...

Building or renovating the Suva Grammar School Aquatic Centre will require a dedicated team of professionals, major funding, and an irrepressive will to see the project through.

How much would such a project cost? How much of the cost would be provided by Government? How much would ex-students be willing to raise to fund capital works for such a complex project?

A Principal of an Australian secondary school has advised me as follows:

Dear Mike,

Pools are an extremely expensive venture and depending on what features you are looking at increases the cost tenfold. A 50 metre, 8-10 lane pool is into the millions when you look at what it takes to run it as well as the construction. I do wish you well in your ventures. It took our community over 12 years to bring our Aquatic Centre to fruition.

So let’s be realistic… this is an extremely expensive venture and funds will need to be raised over a number of years. It becomes clearer to see why, that with building and maintenance costs, the swimming pool has been a lower priority.

Is there a group of ex-scholars ready to start liaising with Government, Principal of Suva Grammar, Grammar Rise Up, PTA and the SGS Ex-Students Association, to complete this project?

I’m with Maureen Thaggard. I thank her for writing to me and having the courage to spell out in day-to-day Mum and Dad terms how the current situation with the swimming pool at Suva Grammar is affecting her son’s education and is unacceptable for good student learning.

She has alerted us to the negative financial and emotional impact current arrangements for swimming activities are having on families of students at Suva Grammar.

Those of us who were fortunate enough to walk into a new school with a beautiful swimming pool are saddened when we see the state of the pool today. We know times are tough. Money is tight.

We take photos of the pool when we visit and we discard them later because it’s too painful to look at them. Our pain is deep because we were the lucky ones – we had a beautiful pool on the school premises and we feel shocked and concerned that students are missing out on this magical opportunity we had to enjoy and become competent swimmers at Suva Grammar.

Perhaps there is a future Fiji champion swimmer amongst current and future Grammarians.

I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU ALL...

Is it the desire of this Facebook Group that we start a second GoFundMe for the “Suva Grammar School Aquatic Centre”?

If so, then let’s do it!

However, it’s one thing to agree and say what a wonderful idea it is to set up such a project. It’s quite another when we set the project up and ex-students don’t donate.

So please give this capital works project your serious consideration. We have 17 months to raise a substantial sum for the pool. These funds may have to be held in trust until the project is fully formalised.

Maureen suggests that each child can give $40 or $50 for the repairs. That is truly an amazing commitment by children to their dream. It shows us that the students want the pool fixed.

What can we ex-scholars give to help make their dream come true?

I look forward to your comments in the group on the best pathway forward to renovate the Suva Grammar swimming pool or build a new Suva Grammar School Aquatic Centre and realise our long-held dreams.

Sincerely,
Mike Gosling (Admin).