Burlington and Notre Dame Catholic high schools have reached an agreement on use of the city's tennis courts at Dankwardt Park, but the Burlington School District has pulled the $50,000 it offered the city for court resurfacing off the table.
Burlington High School Athletic Director Zach Shay and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jeremy Swink said the schools will alternate practice times each of the 10 weeks of the tennis season, with BHS players practicing first on odd weeks and Notre Dame players practicing first on even weeks.
The two schools also will host home games at the Dankwardt courts, and each has reserved the courts in advance.
The Burlington City Council on Monday rejected the Burlington School District's proposal to pay for court repairs at Dankwardt and Crapo parks with $50,000 from its physical plant and equipment levy, which the district can use only for infrastructure and equipment expenses, after hearing impassioned pleas from Notre Dame staff and students who already use the city's courts for practice and meets. The agreement would have given BHS priority use of the courts.
Notre Dame doesn't have tennis courts. BHS does, and players have used the courts up until this year. Weather has not been kind to those courts, however, and deep cracks run from baseline to baseline and beyond.
"Our courts are in deep need of repair," Shay said. "Cracks are getting wider and wider with the freezing and thawing and rain."
Once those cracks reach an inch or two in width, Shay explained, anyone using the courts is at increased risk of injury for things such as rolled ankles and broken bones. Because of this, BHS cannot host home games there, nor does he feel comfortable having students practice there.
The district looked at cost estimates for repairing and resurfacing its courts in 2016. There are a total of seven courts there, with three in one section and four in the other.
Tim Kesterke, director of facilities and maintenance for the district, said Dawson, Illinois-based All Weather Courts estimated the four-court premium repair, which would include a 25-year warranty, to cost $152,500. The three-court section would cost $35,290, but that work would involve only filling the cracks with acrylic and slapping some paint over the top of it. Kesterke said not much more can be done because of the extent of disrepair.
"It doesn't make any sense for us to put any money into this tennis court when they will be moved, hopefully, within the next three to five years," Shay said.
The district is considering removing the courts and building a second gymnasium in their place, pending the extension of the Secure an Advance Vision for Education fund. School districts can levy against the SAVE fund, which is funded through the penny sales tax, to pay for infrastructure projects. Pending legislation would push back the sunset date to 2049.
"It's working its way through (the Legislature)," Business Director Greg Reynolds said of the legislation.
Plans are still up in the air, but Kesterke said six new courts could be installed north of the concession stand by the track for between $500,000 and $600,000, but that doesn't include additional parking for the new location.