The man tasked with helping to build the town's sportsground pavilion has criticised plans to demolish it.
The Don Dale Pavilion was built in the mid 1980s at great expense to the town under plans for it to be continually used well into this century.
Now, less than 40 years later, it is to be knocked over and replaced at a cost of almost $3 million.
The concrete filled brick walls and deep-running ground foundations of the Don Dale Pavilion at the Sportsground will be "tough to knock down," one of the building's original construction project managers Pancho Jack has said.
Disappointed the well used pavilion has already reached its use-by date, Mr Jack said he expected it to last 100 years.
"We built it to withstand a nuclear attack," Mr Jack said.
Now retired, Mr Jack worked for Katherine Town Council for 29 years, overseeing much of the building works at the Sportgrounds.
From the netball courts to the relocation of the Information Centre building to the tennis courts, he had a firm hand in it all.
He remembers a "vibrant" Katherine with plenty of work to go around.
Katherine East houses sat on larger blocks of about 800 square metres and the RAAF was coming into full force at their new base.
He is not quite sure which year exactly the Don Dale Pavilion was built, but he believes it to be around 1985.
In fact, not many people in the town seem to remember the year it went up.
Some who grew up here remember the original shack where they played high school sport, while others have no clue.
"It was a quick project, no mucking around," Mr Jack said.
"Lots of teams were using the ovals for sport so council decided we needed a building with the works.
"It had everything."
Katherine local, Greg Bird, along with a team of Katherine contractors built the pavilion with flooding and longevity in mind, Mr Jack said.
"We used slip joints for expansion and retraction to mitigate damage and cracking, concrete beams run deep into the ground, lots of steel," he said, yesterday, walking around the building which hasn't changed much in the years.
"We know it floods here but all you have to do is wash her out. She would withstand anything."
Named after Donald Francis Dale, an Australian politician who was a member of the NT Country Liberal Party from 1983 to 1989, the building sits between two busy sport ovals.
Well used over the years, Katherine Town Council has decided it is time for a new building.
With an investment from the NT Government, delivered mid last year, the Council contracted an architect firm to revitalise the Sportsgrounds.
Following extensive consultations with groups who use the oval, Darwin based firm. Hames Sharley Archtects, deemed the building "not worth saving".
At a community consultation in May, the architects revealed their grand plan to include wide open spaces and a raised floor - a building which caters to sport users and doubles as a community centre.
According to Katherine Town Council's recently released municipal plan, the new building is expected to cost $2,760,000, but it remains unclear how much the demolition will come to.
"Early on we established the building was not worth saving, there were issues with its height above the ground leading to dampness around the building," senior architect for Hames Sharley, Adam Prentice said at the May meeting.
He said there were issues with access to the building, the layout, security and safety, especially with many youth using the facility.
"People wanted better seating, a connection between the two ovals and shelter from the sun and rain," he said.
"We wanted to create a multi-function space, but the building had to be durable and low maintenance, the NT is a harsh environment."
Pancho Jack is not alone in his support for an upgrade rather than a knock down of the existing building.
Speaking after the May meeting, one sporting group member, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I am definitely excited about the idea."
"But I am worried all of the money will be spent on this one building and there will be nothing left to fix the oval, surrounding roads and the fences."
"There is a lot of work to do at the Sportsground."
Since finding out about the fate of the Don Dale Pavilion last week, Mr Jack has been baffled.
The cost of the demolition alone could pay to revitalise the sturdy building, while leaving funds for an additional building at the Sportsground, he said.
"What council wanted was progress and better facilities, but that doesn't mean knocking things down," Mr Jack said.
Construction of the new building is expected to start in October.
If you have any further information about the history of the Don Dale Pavilion was built, please contact email@example.com
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