Professor Stephen Powles will live on in the memories of Chatham Public School students.
A former student of the school, Professor Powles, now a world renowned plant scientist living in Western Australia, funded the construction of a multipurpose court.
The court was officially opened on Friday, August 7, with Professor Powles given a tour via FaceTime by school principal Matthew Royan, deputies Alison Clifton and Matthew Muller and school leaders.
Mr Royan said the school community was grateful for the donation.
"The school community is so grateful for the kind gesture," Mr Royan said.
"It's a fantastic space that all our children enjoy on a daily basis."
The newly named Stephen Powles multipurpose court caters for basketball, netball and handball.
Each year, Professor Powles finds a worthy charity or project to support with a substantial donation.
As a way to say thank you for his education in his younger years, Professor Powles approached Chatham Public about donating $40,000 towards a worthy project.
The school community was surveyed about what to do with the funds, with the installation of the multipurpose court the overwhelming favourite.
Once all the required paperwork was signed off, construction began in September 2019 and was completed before the end of the school year.
"It's been quite a process," Mr Royan said.
Professor Powles was consulted and updated throughout construction.
The opening of the court was to be held on April 2 but the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to that.
With his first look at the finished product, Professor Powles said he was a big fan of the blue surface and quipped that hockey could be played on it.
When he is able to travel to the Manning Valley, Professor Powles will see the court in person.
"When coronavirus dissipates, I shall come to Taree," he promised.
A plaque was installed on the court to signify Professor Powles' donation. Another will be kept in the administration office.
Assistant principal Matthew Muller was a liason throughout the project. He said present and future students will think of Professor Powles when they play on the court.
The court is an asset which will be respected by students, Mr Royan said.
It's a fantastic space which all our children enjoy on a daily basis.Matthew Royan, Chatham Public School principal
"They're a great bunch of kids and it's a fantastic school community- it's certainly a place we all like to be and it holds a great place in a lot of people's hearts," Mr Royan said.
There are future plans for a grandstand and covered area near the court.
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