By Michael Hicks
Girls tennis season is still six months away, but Berthoud just scored its first, and maybe biggest, victory yet.
The Thompson R2-J School Board voted Aug. 5 for the construction of new tennis courts — six in all — to be placed adjacent to the recently added-on auxiliary gym and classrooms. It’s too early to tell how long the project will take, according to Berthoud High Athletic Director Mark Avery, but girls tennis coach Dave Mathiesen said Friday that the school is hoping to break ground on the facility either this week or next and that the courts could be up within two months.
“We’re very excited. This is just not great for the school, but the community as a whole,” Avery said.
Earlier this year, the school board started asking for bids on the construction cost of a new set of courts. For the past 14 years — the duration of Berthoud’s girls tennis program — the team has had to play on three now crack-riddled courts just in front of Max Marr Field. That’s less than half as many courts as most schools, including those in the 4A Northern Conference, play on regularly. Berthoud players have had, at times, to split their matches between playing at BHS and at Berthoud Park.
But if everything goes off without a hitch that could be a thing of the past come the 2010 season. Mathiesen couldn’t thank the parents enough for their support over the years to help make this a reality.
“The parents really stepped forward. They understood the need of six courts,” Mathiesen said. “It’s great for the community, too. Adults can play on it. Kids can play on it during the summer program. They benefit from hitting more with the instructors. This is a good thing for everybody in the tennis community.”
With a 7-0 count, the school board awarded a contract to the Hall-Irwin Corporation in the amount of $536,915 for construction of the courts. There will also be the reconfiguration of the irrigation pond at Berthoud High School.
While the school will be getting new tennis courts, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will add a boys program, at least not yet. Avery said there are no plans for a boys tennis team at this time, but that the school wouldn’t rule anything out in the foreseeable future.
“It would be nice to have a boys program come through for the kids at the high school,” Mathiesen said. But BHS would face Title IX and equality issues with the Colorado High School Activities Association before that could become a reality.
As for the old courts, they will remain in place for the time being, Mathiesen said.