In just a few days the EA Networks Centre will open its doors to its first customers marking the end of what has been a huge community project.
Sports Facility Manager Steve Prescott says hundreds of hours have been put in to make sure everything is ready for the big opening weekend and he is pleased with how preparations are coming together.
"I think when people see the facility first-hand they will be impressed. The whole complex has a welcoming feel as soon as you step through the main entrance."
On Saturday May 9 the facility will be officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English. Commencing at 12.45pm the ceremony is open to anyone who wishes to attend.
After the opening ceremony there is an opportunity to have a look around the new building until the doors close at 4pm, before opening for the first full day of operation the next day.
From Sunday 10 May (10am – 5pm) people can start using the pools, steam room, gym, fitness classes and courts.
A big turnout is expected for both days which could result in some delays getting into the building.
"We ask that people are patient during what is likely to be two very busy days - we'll be doing our best to make sure any wait time is kept to a minimum."
Parking on the streets surrounding the facility is requested for members of the public attending the official opening ceremony on Saturday, and depending on numbers, this could be some distance away. The same parking situation may also apply on Sunday so it is recommended that people allow some extra time when planning their visits.
Mr Prescott says the project has been incredibly rewarding for him personally and professionally, and is looking forward to seeing it being well used by locals, visitors and tourists.
"To have been involved in a project like this is has been a dream come true."
The state-of-the-art, 8000m2 building has been designed to meet the sporting and recreational needs of the local community and greater Canterbury for years to come.
Mayor Angus McKay says the centre will have an important role to play in accommodating the growing sporting needs of the district as well as acting as a key attraction for people considering a permanent move to Ashburton.
Mr McKay says the design (Warren and Mahoney) and construction (Naylor Love), of the building is outstanding and that he is thrilled the much-anticipated facility is now ready to open its doors.
"I'm very proud to say we now have a world-class aquatic and recreational facility right here on our doorstep in Ashburton. I strongly encourage people to get familiar with all that it offers and to enjoy making it a regular part of their lives.
"I'd also like to take this chance to extend Council's thanks and appreciation to the Ashburton Stadium Complex Trust for driving the community's fundraising efforts over recent years which have helped bring this marvellous facility to fruition."
Ashburton Stadium Complex Trust Chairman Maurice Myers says this weekend is one for everyone in the district to relish.
"We continue to be amazed at the generosity of the community which had an ambitious target of raising $5m for the complex. Within about 15 months this was not only achieved, but exceeded. We're not far short of $6m thanks to a dedicated fundraising committee and phenomenal community support.
"A big thank you to all the sponsors, donors and other contributors to this fundraising effort. Without your support this facility would not have come to fruition as quickly as it did.
"It's going to be great to have a prime recreational hub for the district. Let's get in and enjoy it."
This week a website for the centre went live: eanetworkscentre.co.nz