Has your school or institution been fundraising for years for that dream gymnasium only to find that each year the completed project budget increases by a few $100,000?

Here are the facts: back in December 2016, gymnasiums were budgeted at a construction rate of $3,700 per m² so for a build the size of a netball court (540m²), the cost is close to $2 million! Not only that, the construction time for a gym can take up to 2 years.

This is where Shade Systems steps in.

We offer the Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA), a Canopy, or as Gladstone School called theirs “the Open Air Gym” or the “The Sports Cloud” as Bucklands Beach Intermediate named theirs.

A COLA, with its wide clear-span designs, maximum head space and stunning shape, allows you to use your outdoor space every day in all weather, all year round – for sports, assemblies, school gatherings, gala days and school performances to name a few.

These Covered Outdoor Learning Area’s can be constructed to any size you need and Shade Systems offer complete project management, where it’s not just about the structure itself, we go beyond the installation of the canopy and offer ‘add-on extra’s’ to fully complete your dream project.

  • Lighting Options
  • Public Address Systems
  • Turf/Surface Options
  • Seating Options – portable bleachers
  • Netball/Basketball Hoops
  • Pole Wraps – for student protection
  • Signage and advertising for the School
  • Fencing
  • Concrete Work
  • Retaining Walls
  • Drainage and stormwater connections
  • Spouting/Leaf Guards

Turnkey Solutions:

  • Site visits – we come to you
  • Concept drawings prior to any groundwork beginning. 100% satisfaction ensured
  • Fabrication of both steel and fabric
  • Obtain the necessary permits, engineers sign off, resource consents and work through any legal requirements from your local council
  • Dedicated project management
  • Complete installation from our highly experienced and Health & Safety trained team – this will minimise disruptions to your schedule
  • The time frame of approx. 3 months (from issued building consent to installation completion)
  • Site tidy after installation is complete – ready for your immediate use
  • Fabric warranties of 20 years with a 30-year life expectancy, a design life of 50 years for the steelwork and framing
  • Care and Maintenance Package – Cleaning solutions after installation

But here’s the part you want to know… the cost of a COLA to cover a standard netball court, let’s break it down:

Initial outlay = approximately $200,000 

For this example, let’s keep the timeframe in ‘our’ lifetime for reality’s sake and say 25 years. These structures actually have a 50-year design life – the same as your other school buildings.


$200,000 / 25 years = $8,000 per annum.

We then take that $8,000/annum amount and divide it by the number of students currently enrolled in your school.

$8,000 / approx. 200 students = $40.00 per annum per student.

There are approximately 200 school days in a year, so:

$40.00 per student per year / 200 school days = $0.20 per day per student.

This shows that if you were to invest in a canopy that would benefit those 200 students and those who will attend your school in coming years, you would only be required to pay $0.20 per student per day for twenty-five years! If we were to take the design life of this structure which is fifty years (which is what we guarantee it for), the cost per student per day would be only $0.10!

In fact, your cost per student is likely to be much lower, given that there will be many more students attending your school in coming years and receiving the benefits a canopy like this has to offer.

Compared to the cost of running a school in this day and age, a mere $0.20 per day per child seems like a rather small investment, wouldn’t you say?

Call us on 0800 166 722 to discuss your project