Now the home for the Alex Paiva Health and Fitness Centre 2016
IT WAS AFTER 60 YEARS OF A HARD FOUGHT BATTLE THAT COLLEGE
WAS ABLE TO OBTAIN A FIRST CLASS GYMNASIUM
In the 80’s the Education Department had begrudgingly conceded defeat and the efforts to amalgamate College with Hags passed into history for the time being. But the episode had very negatively affected College’s hopes for a school gymnasium. A gymnasium for the school has remained a distant dream for many years. During the time of Alan Mc Donald as Headmaster the need had already been identified. But, although a gymnasium was a standard facility in many other high schools under the jurisdiction of the Transvaal Education department, there always seemed to be a reason for not providing one for College.
In 1964 Wally Mc Farlane made a concerted but unsuccessful effort to get the Department to acquiesce, so when it seemed that they were simply not interested, a decision was made by the school in 1964 to raise the funds and build it privately. The Old Boys Society sold property in Johannesburg in order to make a generous donation towards the fund and the school embarked on ambitious fund – raising schemes. Then, in 1965 the Department announced that College had been placed second on the list to receive a gymnasium. So the funds were diverted to the building of the much – needed Mac Farlane Pavilion.
However, the promised gymnasium never materialized and in 1972, with the amalgamation being mooted, the school was forced to put the whole idea on ice. When the amalgamation was shelved, a period of extended wrangling continued with the department to get the gymnasium, there were promises made, there were tenders being manipulated and there were long delays.
The upshot was that, even after deputations and approaches to the authorities on a political level, promises and denials, there was still no gymnasium by 1982. It was only in 1989 that the school was able to convert the old “grubhall kitchen” into a makeshift gymnasium when the new kitchen was built.
In 2012 it was the vision of Alex Paiva, Potch Old Boy of over 20 years and now the Sports Coordinator to rebuild the Mac Farlane Pavilion to provide a modern Health and Fitness Centre. It was also agreed that the building itself would remain the Wally Mc Farlane building with the original Plaque still proudly displayed on the wall nearest the entrance. The gym is well managed and in full use today.
In 2015 The Ackermann was completely upgraded as it was showing its age and was becoming unstable.
In 2016 all the buildings comprising the Sports Centre were upgraded externally to comply with the Heritage aspects of the School and the Magistry. Squash Courts 1 and 2 were upgraded and new Toilet and Changing facilities provided in the area previously the entrance to the Ackermann.
In 2017 (the final Phase of the project) Squash Court No 3 not in use as a squash court will be divided to provide catering facilities and a change room for visiting team. With the entire sports complex looking beautiful it was decided that The Mac Farlane building retaining the Mac Farlane Pavilion Plaque would additionally be identified as the Alex Paiva Health and Fitness Centre.
It was agreed that the Entire Spots Complex, be named the Natie Kirsh Sports Complex Natie was at College from 1945-1949 Natie being the main benefactor for the entire complex over
R 2 million to date. We are greatly indebted to him and very grateful. His initiative has given great impetus to the Society and Old Boys all around the world. College with its facilities being upgraded by the school and Old Boys is determined to provide quality facilities and quality Education to attract quality pupils and teachers to a prestigious Model C School. Justorum Semita Lux Splendens
The Ackermann to remain The Ackermann. The School has planted lawn around the complex and in a joint venture with the School and old Boys. The Thor Gevers A Rugby Field was irrigated. Now a lush green – no more “duiweltjies”.
A special word of thanks to go to Geoff Peck Potch Old Boy 1970 and his company for all the design work provided and management of the project and to Ambrac Construction in managing to convert the very old biuldings in a way which has restored them to their former glory.
In the same spirit of ensuring that the names of those honored be it on buildings or fields a Signage scheme providing details and dates has been developed. We are just needing funds to carry out this project. Estimated at about R 220 000
Facility names plaques have been placed on the walls of each entity next to the entrance doors. They are The Ackermann, The Natie Kirsh Sports Complex and the Alex Paiva Health and Fitness Centre. The Wally Mac Farlane Plaque Frank Canova tells us, on his last visit to College, Wally removed, polished and upgraded where necessary. In 2016 it was removed as the entire building had been plastered and now on January the 18th 2017 placed in a prominent position with the new name plaques of each facility. Wally Mac Farlane is now in full use and looking very proud in its Wally Mac Farlane Heritage correct revamped building. All honors boards are beautifully displayed in The Ackermann. All School photographs are to be digital and available on a viewer in the Ackermann.
Some Personalities on the walls of the Ackermann