Tennis lovers in Pittsburg may be left waiting for time on the court as Pittsburg State University announces it will close its tennis courts. The school says the decision has always been a part of the construction plans for the $33 million Fine Arts Center.
Pittsburg High School Head Tennis Coach John Seal says he'll have to move practices for his team to city courts. It also means those six usable courts left in Pittsburg will be split between his team and the wider community.
"It'll stress our court use, but if you plan it, and I've already started that processes of planning how we're going to do it and getting every kid a chance to play," says Seal.
According to PSU the courts are being sacrificed for a parking lot for the new Fine Arts Building, something it says is much needed on campus.
"Ask a student, ask anybody, and especially when you see the new construction we've got around here, it really will be what's needed to support all the arenas we'll have," says Chris Kelly, Director of PSU Marketing and Communication.
The parking will come at a price and means cutting the community's access to courts in half.
Pittsburg's Parks and Recreation Director, Kim Vogel, says the current eight city run courts have seen better days.
"We have some improvements to do on these courts, they are really not ready for competition play," says Vogel. "They aren't ready for competition for the high school, so upgrading our courts is our number one priority."
Vogel says the city applied for a grant through the Pritchett Trust for $50,000 to repave and repaint six of the city courts. The city hopes to hear back about the grant in mid-August, but even if it doesn't come through Seal says his team will make it through.
"I've got some great kids and great players, and they just want to play, they don't care where it's at," says Vogel.
For now, Seal says he plans on utilizing the PSU courts as much as possible until they close on August 1.
Both PSU and the Pittsburg school district say they have long term plans to build tennis courts of their own, but that no firm plans are in the works at this time.