The condition of Seymour High School’s tennis courts has officials looking at options.
Four of the 10 courts are in such bad shape, they have decided to close them.
Trustee Stu Silver said he is in favor of repairing all 10 courts as soon as possible. The boys tennis season begins in the fall, and the courts are used by the public, too.
“I think we’ve got to get it fixed,” he said during a school board meeting earlier this month. “The sooner, the better.”
But some board members are concerned the cost will be more than the corporation has to spend on the project, and the four courts closest to the gymnasium may be needed in the near future for a building expansion.
Superintendent Rob Hooker said the cost to make repairs ranges from $4,000 to $8,000 per court depending on their condition and would total $40,000 to $80,000 to do all 10 courts.
To build new courts, it would cost between $80,000 and $100,000 per court, or $800,000 to $1 million total, he said.
The money to pay for the tennis courts has to come from the school’s sports facilities account, which has less than $100,000, said corporation business manager Steve Nauman.
“We have to keep that in mind,” he said. “Regardless of what you recommend, there is a cap to what we can do.”
Dave Stark, director of facilities and grounds, said there are some large cracks opening up on the courts that are causing some issues and concerns.
“The cracks used to be underneath the nets and between the courts, but now, they’re starting to develop in the playing area themselves and have opened up to probably three-quarters of an inch, maybe a little bit more,” he said.
He is gathering quotes from businesses that specialize in repairing tennis courts to bring back to the board in July.
Stark said the cracks are a result of the age of the asphalt.
“When I was talking to the repair people, they said it’s old asphalt, and it shrinks and pulls apart, and it also deteriorates,” he said.
Hooker said he and Seymour athletics director Kirk Manns are most concerned with the four courts just west of the auxiliary gym, which are in jeopardy of being safe enough to use.
“The cracks are significant hazards,” Hooker said.
One company they talked to didn’t even want to quote repairs because of how wide and deep the cracks have become, he said.
“And they aren’t going to get better,” he said.
Due to their condition, Stark said the cost to repair the four courts in the worst shape exceeds the cost to build new playing surfaces.
“They’re too far gone,” he said.
Trustee Nancy Franke said she was concerned a student or someone from the community could get injured because of the cracks and the school would be held liable.
If the courts are too hazardous, they should be closed and locked up so no one can access them and get hurt, Trustee John Kelley added. The courts have since been padlocked.
Board President Art Juergens is in favor of fixing the six courts that aren’t beyond repair now so they are ready for the fall tennis season.
Trustee Max Klosterman said he didn’t know how many courts the high school needs.
“I’m not for spending money we don’t need to, but to put them off too long, to keep repairing and patching too long, we don’t want to have to replace all 10 of them at one time someday,” he said.
With future space needs, Hooker said he doesn’t want the board to spend a lot of money repairing the four worst courts and then in three years decide to use the property to expand the school.
If the board wants the courts to be used, though, they all will need repaired, Manns said.
Klosterman said he didn’t want to invest more money than the courts are worth but agreed the board should move forward with making repairs to the six courts in the best condition and wait to get quotes back on the other four.
“We need to repair as many as we can,” Hooker said.