CASPER, Wyo. – The Natrona County School District Board of Directors on Monday discussed a proposed deal with the town of Casper that would allow for the eventual construction of a ten-court tennis facility at Highland Park.
A draft memorandum of understanding between the NCSD and the town of Casper would require the school district to invest $ 2-5 million in the development of the new tennis facility. The project would add six new lots and rehabilitate four existing lots owned by the Town of Casper.
NCSD administrator Dave Applegate said on Monday that the idea the district is working on would be based on funding provided by the one-thousandth property tax imposed in Natrona County for recreational purposes.
Applegate said such funding has also supported other recent projects, such as the Natrona County High School Swimming Pool Installation Project.
With high school tennis players and other tennis advocates calling for upgrades to tennis facilities at Casper, Applegate said NCSD’s support for the project would be consistent with decisions made on other infrastructure projects these days. last years.
He said parent and student advocacy groups have played a role in leading administrators on new pool and soccer facilities as well as supporting making girls’ softball a sanctioned sport in high school. Applegate said advocating for parents’ rights was also an important driver in creating bilingual immersion programs offered in the school district.
NCSD Board Chairman Ray Catellier said early plans before the Kelly Walsh High School renovations were completed included plans for new tennis courts for KW.
While some high school tennis advocates have called for separate tennis facilities for KW and Natrona County High School, Catellier said the district can realistically afford to support a centralized tennis facility between the two schools. .
Applegate said the reason the district is considering a ten-court facility is to host the typical high school double-meets. He said a typical double encounter between two high school tennis teams in Wyoming requires five courts. The creation of a ten-court facility would allow both NC and KW to simultaneously host double-competition competitions against other schools in the state.
As it stands, high schools are forced to hold double encounters in courts scattered across Casper. Applegate and Catellier noted that the new ten-field facility would also provide adequate training space for the two high school teams.
The new facility could also allow Casper to host regional tournaments, according to Applegate. If there was any interest in attempting to host high school tennis competitions across the state, more than 20 courts would be needed.
While installing ten courts alone is not enough to host state competitions, Applegate said that with enough good-condition courts throughout the city, Casper could potentially compete to host state tennis. at some point in the future.
NCSD Superintendent Mike Jennings said the draft memorandum of understanding with the town of Casper is still under review. He noted that if the NCSD made such an agreement, it would not mean that the district would have to proceed with the construction of the tennis facilities. Rather, it would be a first step in enabling planning for that purpose. If the district signed the memorandum of understanding with the city, the improvements would have to be built within four years or ownership would revert to the city of Casper.
Administrator Rita Walsh asked if members of the tennis community who have advocated for better facilities support the proposed new NCSD facility.
Catellier and Applegate said they have had a conversation with some individual members of the tennis community who have indicated their support for the concept. Catellier noted that some still wanted to have separate facilities for each high school, but did not think it would be feasible for the district at this time.
Walsh said she believes the concept will provide “great benefits” not just for high school tennis players, but for the community as a whole. Part of the draft agreement between the NCSD and the Town of Casper states that the facility would be open to the public when not in use for high school practice or competition.
“I think it’s really a win-win,” Walsh said.
The trustees took no formal action on Monday regarding the draft memorandum of understanding. Casper’s administrators and city council are expected to approve the deal before the project can move forward.