2017-01-18 / School News

Tennis group asks school board to partner in building courts

by Kate Evans


This preliminary design of a proposed eight-court tennis facility was created by the U.S. Tennis Association for the Morgan County Tennis Association. It includes beginner courts for children, 74 parking spaces and structures for restrooms, locker rooms, offices and shelters. This preliminary design of a proposed eight-court tennis facility was created by the U.S. Tennis Association for the Morgan County Tennis Association. It includes beginner courts for children, 74 parking spaces and structures for restrooms, locker rooms, offices and shelters. Morgan County Tennis Association vice-president Ryan Fincham requested that the Morgan County School Board partner with the group and other agencies to build tennis courts for the Berkeley Springs High School tennis team and for use by all county residents.

Fincham gave an overview of tennis in Morgan County and facility issues in his presentation at the January 3 school board meeting. He also did a presentation at the Morgan County Commission’s December 15 meeting, where county officials voiced support for the proposal to build eight regulation-size courts on several acres of the county’s 16- acre plot near the county ball park complex.

The estimated cost of a regulation size eight-court facility is around $280,000. A sixcourt facility is $210,000. A cost estimate of $35,000 a court doesn’t include site preparation and lighting, Fincham said.

The organization has $20,000 in donations and pledges and the U.S. Tennis Association may contribute $20,000 toward the project, Fincham said. A minimum of four courts are needed for home high school matches and eight courts are required for tournaments.

Youth, high school programs

Several hundred kids have gone through Paula Osborne’s county youth tennis programs and clinics in the past 10 years. Osborne began the high school tennis team in 2004 and works as assistant coach of the team with head coach Raynette Mock, Fincham said.

The tennis team will have full rosters this spring and interest in the sport is growing, he said.

The Morgan County Tennis Association will work hard to collect the needed funding and support to construct the facility and manage and maintain it, he said.

Fincham said they are pursuing grants, planning fundraisers and doing a membership drive mail-outs of new brochures to former tennis players and to areas of the county and individuals that have expressed interest. They’re also approaching businesses for support. One fundraiser they’re pursuing is a tennis pro clinic.

School board president David Ambrose suggested that Fincham get on a Cacapon State Park Foundation meeting agenda regarding the tennis court resurfacing.

School board member Pete Gordon was pleased to see the tennis court construction project back in motion. He said his son played on the high school tennis team and it helped forge his character. Gordon said it was hard for them to see all the matches because they were away games.

School board vice-president Aaron Close wondered if the state park could add two more tennis courts, but Fincham said they really need six to eight courts. They’d also rather have the future tennis facility located in the county recreation complex area.

The Morgan County Tennis Association is a newly-formed 501-c3 non-profit corporation that’s working to build tennis courts, upgrade existing tennis facilities and provide tennis instruction.

The Morgan County Tennis Association’s annual meeting is set for Thursday, January 26 at 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church social hall in Berkeley Springs. Their agenda will include election of officers, discussion of the tennis facility project, their brochure mailout and upcoming fundraisers.

The meeting is open to the public. The organization can be contacted through their social media page or by email at mctennisboard @gmail.com.

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