A multiyear project to improve athletic facilities was capped Thursday when Hillsboro City Schools officially dedicated their new tennis courts.
The four former tennis courts were constructed on what was originally planned to be used as an overflow parking lot, superintendent Tim Davis said, then about a year ago administrators were told the base the courts were constructed on was failing and the courts needed to be replaced.
There are now six courts, allowing all five matches of a high school contest to be played at the same time.
The $502,535 project included removing the old courts, preparing a new base, and installing new fencing, concrete around the courts, and lights. Athletic director Dave Dietrick said the fences surrounding the courts are angled on all corners and between the courts to help tennis balls stay in the proper court.
“Here at the Hillsboro City Schools we have definitely been spoiled,” said high school principal Joe Turner, who emceed a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. “We have a track and soccer field that’s the best in the region and now we have these tennis courts that, in my opinion, are second to none.”
Years of planning started turning into realization on April 20, 2015 when the track and soccer field at the school were dedicated. Since then the school district has added a restroom/concession stand near the track and soccer complex, a training and wrestling facility named the Sam Barnhouse Center, two practice soccer fields and two practice football fields. The practice fields have been graded and tiled.
School board president Bill Myers said that earlier this month the school district also added about 30 new training machines plus new weights to the 13,500 square foot Barnhouse Center.
The school board has discussed adding a 12,855 square foot field house to the 2,105 square foot concession/restroom facility. Myers said Thursday that will likely happen at some point, but for the time being the building projects are complete.
“It’s been a very long process and a lot of dedication on the part of a lot of people from the board, administration and others, and I’m just finally excited to see this property in its mostly complete state now,” Myers said. “From the time I first got on the school board and now to see the transformation of the property, I think it’s something the whole community can be proud of.
“There are still some projects we’d like to see come to fruition, but at this point we’ve been waiting to see these things get done before we look at anything else.”
Myers said one of those future projects would be adding a field house/multipurpose building that would also have changing areas for the track and soccer athletes. It would be connected to the restroom/concession building. He said he did not want to comment at this time on other possible projects.
The tennis courts are currently open to the public when they are not being used by the school.
Dietrick said that next fall, the school district can have a volleyball game, soccer game, tennis match, football practice, and other practices all going on at the same time in one centralized location. He said having the facilities close together gives athletic trainers quicker access to more athletes, allows practices to start sooner so student/athletes can have more time for other things, and is more safe since students don’t have to be transported across town to the former school site for football practices.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.