College wins $500k compo over too low basketball court

A SUNSHINE Coast college has won more than $500,000 in compensation after architects built the ceiling on a basketball hall so low that players' shots hit the lights.

When firm Thomson Adsett completed the hall at Australian Christian College in Caboolture in 2010, the roof was only about 120 centimetres higher than a regulation 3-metre basketball hoop, Fairfax reported.

It was when the steel work went up that the school chief executive officer David Fyfe realised something was wrong, according to a District Court judgment handed down on Thursday.

"That's not what I… yeah not what I asked for," Mr Fyfe said.

Mr Fyfe said he requested a "full-size basketball court" when he spoke to the builders. Instead what the school got was a hall that could accommodate a 32x19 metre court but was only an average of 4.2-metres high. Australian courts are generally recommended to be at least 7 metres.

"Kids would just kick the balls and hit the lights and throw the balls and they'd be hitting... you'd virtually have to say to the kids no ball sports in that facility. It was just too low," Mr Fyfe said.

The architects argued that former principal Stephen Woodward had told them the hall would not be used for proper basketball games.

A director specifically asked Mr Woodward whether basketball would be played and was told no.

District Court Judge Nicholas Samios said in his judgment that the college made "very clear" to the architect that Mr Fyfe wanted a full-size court."I find Mr Fyfe's instruction was given in about September 2009." 

He ordered Thomson Adsett to pay $366,262 in compensation for the breach of contract, with a further $138,738 in interest.


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