Smart management and a little bit of luck will give University Place a facelift to two of the community’s sports facilities.
At the impromptu request of Mayor Ken Grassi on Monday night, University Place Superintendent Patti Banks said the school district will upgrade its tennis courts and install covered bleachers at Viking Stadium.
The improvements will be paid for via the $86 million bond that voters approved in 2006. During that process, Banks said, a citizen’s advisory group produced a list of improvements that the bond money would fund. However, officials didn’t want to inundate the community with a long list of projects, so it instead proposed to the community its most-pressing needs, including a and a .
But Banks did say that if there was enough money once that work was done, the school district could complete the projects that weren’t emphasized.
Now, thanks to tight management of the bond’s projects and an economic climate in which labor was cheaper, University Place hopes to get the tennis courts and visitors bleachers complete by the 2012-13 school year.
Local tennis players know what happens when it rains.
“If you’ve ever tried to play tennis on our tennis courts in the spring,” Banks said, “you have to bring your swim flippers because it’s kind of a retaining pond.”
The tennis courts, built decades ago next to what’s now the University Place School District’s headquarters, are located in a lowland area that collects water on rainy days, making it almost impossible to play.
The school district plans to build four new tennis courts and improve the drainage on the others, leaving “seven upgraded tennis courts for community use, as well as for school use.”
If possible, UP would also build a separate drainage pond.
University Place might lose an element of its home-field advantage at Viking Stadium, but it would gain some opportunities to host regional sporting events.
For years, fans of visiting teams were subject to the elements. The new bleachers will not only provide cover from the rain, but it will offer amenities underneath the seats such as restrooms.
“It will enable us to really increase our revenue,” Banks said, “because in order to host any of the major playoff, revenue-generating things that happen on football fields and soccer fields, you have to have covered visitors stands.”
Viking stadium will also be getting new turf.