Cracked SHS tennis courts to reopen soon

Two closed tennis courts at Sequim High School are set to reopen soon.

Randy Marihugh

Randy Marihugh

Two closed tennis courts at Sequim High School are set to reopen soon.

In September, a plywood board blocked off the entrance to the courts after large cracks across the courts were deemed unsafe to play on. Rather than pay for an overhaul that could cost tens of thousands of dollars, staff at the Sequim School District are opting to use a product made for tennis courts to patch long and deep cracks in the courts.

John McAndie, maintenance and operations supervisor, said the product expands in the cracks and takes time to cure.

Maintenance staff began working on the courts two weeks ago applying the green and red product. They’ve used a floor machine and sanding discs typically used on gym floors to even out the product.

McAndie said they’ve placed about $1,000 worth of product in the cracks, but some cracks are so large they’ll have to reapply materials and sand those spots again.

“We want to get them back in use and this is how we’re going to try,” he said.

The Sequim-Dungeness area hosts three public accessible courts at the school. Two courts at Sunland Country Club & Golf Course are available to Sunland residents. The school district allows the public to use their tennis and pickleball courts during school hours if students are not using the courts.

Because of a lack of space and daylight hours, Justine Wagner, Sequim High tennis team head coach, said she’s had to alter practices and home matches.

At home matches, junior varsity players haven’t been able to play either, Wagner said, and at practices there is space for only 12 of the 24 players to practice match scenarios so they focus on drills.

“They basically get to hit the ball one-third less each practice,” Wagner said.

Court discussions

Members of the Peninsula Tennis Club said they’ve discussed the tennis court issues for a number of years with the school district and City of Sequim.

Allison Hastings, past-president of the club, said they brought in a contractor in 2010 who estimated costs at $66,000 to repair the five school district courts – resurfacing the top three and placing new asphalt and materials on the bottom two.

“We tried to raise (the money) but it got tricky,” she said.

“The school district has been very gracious but the idea was that if we give out this money there’s no guarantee we can use these courts with boys tennis in the fall, girls tennis in spring and with the P.E. classes.”

Peninsula Tennis Club member Peter Ignatjev said the club has offered a split financing plan for the courts to the city, schools and club, but to no avail so far.

Ignatjev and many of the 60-plus club members have been writing to Sequim City Councilors for support, he said.

However, officials with the city and schools maintain there are no short-term plans to build new courts.

Hastings said since she’s lived here the last 16 years the city has put in place long-term plans for tennis courts but not acted on them.

“We’ve been hearing about plans for years and years,” she said.

As tennis club president, Hastings said she approached the then-Sequim School District superintendent and Sequim City Manager and was told neither entity had enough money for courts.

She and many other tennis players advocated for “The Bubble,” an inflatable dome, in 2011, to go in place at the high school. The Sequim School Board, however, unanimously voted down the idea after hearing testimony from school staff about costs, esthetics, space and possible vandalism.

Hastings said a private donation of $200,000 would have paid to resurface/redo the courts but stipulated it must be for indoor courts.

Ignatjev said ideally tennis players would like four lighted tennis courts and four pickleball courts at Carrie Blake Park. He said funds are still available to help with such a project and that the offer is still on the table.

Representatives with the City of Sequim said any plans for tennis courts would come out of the soon-to-be updated City’s Parks Master Plan where they’ll prioritize projects.

Many projects within city limits such as the Sequim-Shiso Friendship Garden, the Guy Cole Convention Center and the Albert Haller Playfields have been pushed forward by community groups because the city doesn’t have dedicated funding for parks and recreation, city representatives said.

Sequim Schools Superintendent Kelly Shea said the school district doesn’t have money budgeted for the courts this year, but they were included in the failed proposed $154 million April bond.

Tennis courts, however, are not included in Shea’s preliminary bond proposal to the school board of $46 million.

 

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