The Banner Staff
The Duncan Banner
Players walked briskly onto the blue and green asphalt with tennis racquets in hand and smiles on their faces, excited to break in the brand new courts.
Duncan High School won’t officially christen the four new tennis courts at the corner of Spruce and 19th Street until April 12th, but the Demons and Lady Demons began practicing on them on Monday, signaling an end to months of construction.
“I’m really pleased. Every time I drive by I have to slow down and look at them,” Duncan tennis coach Phil Barnes said. “I think now, we have the best facility in the state, as far as high schools.”
The new courts, which mark the first major change to Duncan High Schools’ tennis facilties in 40 years, give the school 12 courts on campus, which should make hosting and running tournaments easier.
“We’re so thankful that Halliburton has let us use those courts (at Halliburton Park), but they are so far out,” Barnes said. “Now, we’ll be able to have 12 matches going on out here at the same time.”
The four tennis courts next to the new ones are slated to have the fenses repainted and new wind guards put up. The four courts on the south side of the gymnasium, meanwhile, will be resurfaced in the near future. Duncan athletic director Burl White said the school is currently receiving bids for that project.
The schools’ baseball stadium also completed construction in anticipation of the spring season. The concession stand, press box and entrance were all redone with brick, the restrooms were renovated and a new scoreboard was even hung in center field.
Other projects on the way are renovation of the football press box and a resurfacing of the high school track.
“The press box renovation has been needed for a long time. We wante to address safety concerns and handicap concerns with that,” Duncan schools superintendent Sherry Labyer said. “We have been trying to save money and put it toward our extra-curricular activities.”
Funds for the new tennis courts came solely from donations and from the City of Champions. The press box and track, meanwhile, will be funded by the schools, general building fund, Labyer said.
The school had hoped for help funding the tennis courts from the United States Tennis Association’s Public Facility Assistance grant, which can assist with up to $50,000 toward the cost of construction.
“All I can say about it is that we applied for it but it just wasn’t granted,” Labyer said.
The designs for the football press box are currently being done by the architect, Labyer said. She hopes to start receiving bids on the project in early to mid February and to have the plan ready to bring to the school board in March.
“The floor (of the press box) has issues. It’s basically falling through,” White said. “It’s been braced up and repaired and repaired for about 40 years. We’ve had issues with it for a while and at some point, something bad is going to happen if we don’t fix it.”
The track, meanwhile, is slated to host three events this spring before the resurfacing is done. There is no plan to alter the dimensions of the seven-lane track. The track was resurfaced five or six years ago, White said, but the job has not stood the test of time. The edge of the track near the home football stands is chipping away badly and there are chunks of the track missing near the finish line.
“You probably had a really bad mix of the adhesive that makes the tray stay in place,” White said. “We’ve had many problems with it that have started to make it hard to run on.”
With projects scheduled throughout the rest of the school year and into the summer, don’t expect to see the construction crews or their equipment gone for long after completing the tennis courts. But if all goes according to plan, you can expect to see some primo sports facilities at Duncan High School.