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Pittsburg schools unveil tennis courts - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg schools unveil tennis courts

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

The Pittsburg school district’s newest addition should pay back dividends.

On Wednesday, the district revealed its 10 doubles-tennis courts at the high school with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Over half the $888,000 project came from private donors, according to Superintendent Destry Brown.

The new courts will benefit the community, the high school tennis team and the newly-founded middle school girls’ team.

“We used to play on the courts by Lakeside,” said Audrey Goode, a middle school tennis player. “These ones the ball bounces a lot better and there aren’t as many sags, so if it rains … it will dry off quicker.”

The middle school team was formed by physical education teacher Christy Watt, who wanted to utilize the large tennis complex. She was asked to recruit eight athletes, she got 22.

“I had to ask my mom first but it’s actually great because I always wanted to play tennis. I really wanted to play in high school and this is a great learning experience because then I can already learn the basics and it’s going to give me a lot of opportunities as I get older,” said Lilly Cawyer, a middle school tennis player.

High school coach John Seal said the courts are better than anywhere they have played on and the district will hold the SEK Championship in the spring and hopes to hold a state championship in the future.

The future tournaments will have an economic impact, which is part of the reason local organizations bought in.

“Especially when we get to the point that we are hosting multiple tournaments, you’re talking about impacts of well over a million dollars,” said Blake Benson, the City of Pittsburg’s economic development director. “One of the best things is that it is being spent by visitors that are visiting our community so it really helps supplement our local businesses and brings in extra impact that maybe they weren’t anticipating.”

A few of the donations include Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau with a $25,000 contribution, a $100,000 Pritchett Trust grant and a private donation from the Konek Memorial Fund, after Kaleb Konek, a former high school tennis player who passed in 2014.

The courts have been open since August, but the district was still waiting on a few, small modifications. The district also plans to add a gazebo, which they have partnered with Pittsburg State University for, extend the parking lot and install a bathroom.

The district received a grant from Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for the complex, so the facilities will be considered a park.

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