Hundreds of people will be dribbling, dunking and alley-ooping at Ōhope Hall this month thanks to council and community-board funded upgrades creating a top-notch basketball court.

The upgrades started when Whakatāne District Council invested about $22,000 on LED lighting, engineering design and wall strengthening to handle the weight of new basketball back-boards.

The Whakatāne-Ōhope Community Board then provided an additional $15,000 for the adjustable hoops.

Eastern Eagles Basketball Club co-chair Audri Abbot said the new facilities would open the hall to hundreds of keen basketball players and provide a venue for programmes encouraging youngsters to take up the sport.

She said the sport was growing fast, and it was “fantastic” to have another venue.

“The height of the boards can be adjusted so the smaller kids can use them – they’ve always missed out.”

Abbot has already booked the hall for some 200 children and up to 100 adults for various programmes.

It all starts tomorrow [Thursday] with a ‘world cup’ event for Year 3 to Year 6 students, many of whom will dress up in clothing from various countries.

A similar programme for intermediate students will start on 25 August.

Five days later, a 10-week competition will start for six mixed adult teams, each with 10-12 players, plus 20 people involved with ‘walking’ basketball – a slower version of the game that appeals to people who are less mobile due to age or injuries, or who are new to the game and want to learn the rules at a good pace.

The council’s General Manager Community Experience, Georgina Fletcher, said it was great to hear that the upgrades will benefit and enable so many people of all ages to enjoy the hall.

“It’s especially pleasing that these upgrades have allowed so many young people to take up basketball,” she said.

“Getting involved with sports is a great way to make friends, have lots of fun, and learn good habits for staying healthy.”

The hall can be booked through the Council bookings administrator by calling 07 306 0500.