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Field of dreams

Blouberg Ridge Primary School buzzed with excitement on Saturday as learners and parents came out to celebrate their new field.

This followed a 25-year battle to get bright green grass to grow. Speaking to TygerBurger ahead of the launch, principal Denis Stephen says when he first arrived at the school in the 1990s, the field was still in use by the contractors to build the school. At the time, no learners were allowed on the field on the day the school opened and teachers used a local play park for sports activities. At this stage the school was relatively small with just under 300 learners in Grades 1, 2 and 3 in 1991.

The next year the school opened up to Grades 4, 5 and 6 and learners were still not allowed on the field. “They were not allowed on the field throughout 1992 because the contractors could not get the grass to grow. The education department refused to take over the field until the grass started to grow and it took them three years to get some grass growing. It looked nothing like it looks at the moment.”

After three years the department took control of the fields and in 1993 the first soccer match against Milnerton Primary School was played on the field.

The school later consulted with water specialists who created two boreholes for irrigation and while weeds grew, there was still no grass. Stephen says it was later discovered that when the contractor cleared the site, they had buried builder’s rubble under the field and these areas were mostly affected.

He says the weeds were sprayed and the grounds ploughed before new seeds were planted, and this worked, but the grass did not last. After consultation, the school was informed that the irrigation system was incorrect as the company who had installed a domestic system. In addition it was found the borehole water had a very high salt content and this was affecting the growth of the grass.

Teachers continued to take children to other locations to play sport to ensure their development was not stunted.

Speaking on Saturday, he explains after 25 years the school was proud to open the field. He says a parent came forward and offered her help to raise funds. Other parents quickly followed and raised the money needed to fix the field. The initial cost was R40 000 and costs escalating from there. A new caretaker was employed as well as a new company to consult. In November last year the field was cleared and when the school opened in January, the grass had started growing.

On Saturday, learners dressed up in their respective house colours for the inter-house sports day joined by their families and teachers. When Stephen announced the opening, loud cheers could be heard and learners could not hold back their excitement as they got ready to compete.

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