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AUSTIN EDITION District 'courts' upgrades to athletic complex

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Tennis courts at the Wescott Athletic Complex likely will be improved and expanded this summer along with the construction of parking space near Hass Stadium.

Austin Public Schools' facilities committee gave its endorsement Friday for the district to start planning and seeking bids for the tennis-court project, Finance Director Lori Volz said.

The project could start in June.

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Money exists for refurbishing the current courts, but $31,000 in donations are needed within the next month to construct two courts on the east side at the same time, Volz said. If the money isn't ready for the expansion, the project would become a phased plan, she said. "It's looking hopeful," Volz said.

Parking lot

The district also is planning to use capital funds to construct a parking lot in the northwest corner of Hass Stadium at the complex, Volz said.

Preliminary plans for the lot, which would be along the north side of the water tower, call for 45 standard stalls and three for handicap parking, she said. The lot, also a summer project, would connect to a walking path into the stadium on the north side.

Board approval

Austin School Board would need to give final approval for the projects in June when it reviews the district's proposed budget.

Volz said the parking and tennis projects would help complete a bulk of the ongoing Wescott improvement project, which included the stadium renovation. Other minor plans, such as additional lighting, could be done later.

Josh Bendickson, head coach of Austin High School's girls and boys tennis teams, said the likelihood of new and resurfaced courts for next fall is exciting. "It'll be a great improvement for the tennis teams and the community to use," he said.

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Wescott currently has six tennis courts despite varsity matches consisting of seven games, Bendickson said. At least half of the 10 schools in the Big Nine Conference have seven or more courts, he said. Additional courts will allow all games to be played at once.

He said more courts also would help the three- and four-team matches at Wescott run more smoothly.

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