Weekend warriors have a home at Ma Murray gym

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – With so many clubs and sports groups in town scrambling for available space, Margaret Ma …

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – With so many clubs and sports groups in town scrambling for available space, Margaret Ma Murray school has opened its gym on weekends for youth sports groups.

Vice-Principal Hunter Mackay says it started as an idea floating around local social media groups. He says the initial release got the attention of around 25 clubs in town, but it lost some momentum.

“By the time it came down to contacting groups to get the application and the information, I only had two groups get back to me, and only one with a COVID-19 plan,” said Mackay.

This weekend, the one group that had its first session at the gym is the Northern British Columbia Volleyball Club. Youth sports are allowed to practice, but no games are permitted in this phase of the COVID-19 public health guideline.

The NBC Ice will use the Ma Murray gym on weekends until the end of May, and they will use the new futsal pitch at the Curling Centre on weekdays.

Because Ma Murray is a community school, as opposed to an elementary school, they can allow user groups in their facility after school hours. Mackay says the gym is generally booked solid.

“The last two years, Monday to Sunday, my gym is full after 5 o’clock. Tons of groups use it because the City wants it used, and we’re happy to have people use it,” said Mackay. “Plus, the gym is the size of a high school gym. I can split it in half, and get twice as many groups in,” added Mackay.

With Ma Murray being the first school to offer this option, Mackay says it is too early to tell if more schools will follow suit.

Any interested sports groups looking to use the gym are encouraged to come up with a COVID-19 plan and submit it to Ma Murray School. Once everything is approved, a meeting can be set up to go over procedures.

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