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Repaving on the horizon for tennis courts

Northgate+tennis+courts+are+in+need+of+repairs%2C+which+are+expected+to+take+place+this+spring.
Northgate tennis courts are in need of repairs, which are expected to take place this spring.

Northgate tennis courts are in need of repairs, which are expected to take place this spring.

Madeleine Voorhees

Madeleine Voorhees

Northgate tennis courts are in need of repairs, which are expected to take place this spring.

Madeleine Voorhees, Feature Editor

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Northgate has built and updated a number of sports facilities over the last few years including a new pool, an inside wrestling space, a sports medicine classroom, and most recently, fresh turf on the football field. These improvements have positively impacted the athletic community, but the tennis teams have not felt an equal amount of generosity.

Badly cracked and poorly maintained, the Northgate tennis courts are desperately in need of an update.

“The condition of the tennis courts definitely affects the quality of the game,” said senior and varsity player Danielle Kavert, who has competed all four years. “I would describe the conditions to not only be unplayable, but also unsafe because girls have tripped on the courts before. Balls have also hit cracks and gone in opposite directions.” One of Kavert’s relatives had been involved, to give some perspective on the issue. “The courts were actually built by my grandpa in the 1970s, and have not been updated since,” Kavert added.

After a long wait, it appears that the tennis team’s pleas will finally be answered. Mt. Diablo Unified School District officials have sent the upper eight tennis courts out to bid.

However, some questions still remain: the time frame, the process moving forward, why getting the eight courts resurfaced took so long in the first place, and when the four lower courts will be resurfaced.

To begin with, the money required for new tennis courts is not easy to come by. “It can cost upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” stated Rene Conroy, PE teacher and tennis coach for the past nine years. “It really depends upon what they actually do.”

“The girls’ tennis team has been trying to raise money for years because we were told we would need to do that in order to get our facilities improved,” Conroy said. “I understand that. Yes, we should definitely try to help our facilities, but this is used by the school for PE. We were kind of wondering why it was required that we raise the money to fix something that belongs to the school.”

With the tennis courts being used about eight months of the year for PE classes, the school district will help pay for the resurfacing of the courts. The district claimed that the new courts would be finished by the end of May or June of last year, but the date has been delayed.

Conroy stated in an earlier interview that she would have loved for the courts to be done prior to the end of the girls’ tennis season in order to host League Finals. However, with the tennis season just about coming to a close, that is an unachievable goal.

Vice principal Ben Campopiano made it clear last week that the district is working hard to start and complete construction as efficiently as possible. “Moving forward, the district is planning to resurface the tennis courts in hopes of having them completed by the spring or summer of 2018 based on construction timelines,” Campopiano said.

Collaboration with the city of Walnut Creek also plays a key role in the resurfacing of the courts, as the city will contribute to the repaving of the lower four courts in the next few years, according to a Walnut Creek city official.

“All twelve of the tennis courts are owned by the school and school district. However, the city has historically maintained and operated the four courts that are closest to the football field [the lower four], while the school district has been responsible for the upper eight courts,” explained Kevin Safine, Arts and Recreational Director for the City of Walnut Creek.

“The city of Walnut Creek staff will be proposing to allocate $300,000 for the repair of the lower four in our 2018-2020 budget period, and the City Council will be considering this request in the spring of 2018 when they review the proposed budget,” Safine added. “We will be working in partnership with the school and the district as this process moves forward.”

The tennis team is willing to wait on the city to resurface the lower four courts, but the upper eight courts cannot take further damage. Coach and players are disappointed that the work was not done this year, as they had hoped, but say they are pleased that the work will take place. Campopiano said he did not know the cost range for the eight courts that the district will get repaved.

With a record of 13-3, it appears that the girls’ tennis team will not get to play on new courts by the end of their season. However, resurfacing of the upper courts could be completed by the boys’ season in the spring, and for future Northgate tennis players to enjoy.

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Repaving on the horizon for tennis courts