From June 2021 to fall 2022, the school’s tennis courts will be closed for playing tennis and used to store building materials for the construction of the new auxiliary gymnasium.
The tennis team will not have courts at the school to train or organize matches until the spring 2023 men’s tennis season. These courts will also be closed to the public.
At the current location of the tennis courts, an auxiliary gymnasium with full basketball and volleyball courts is being built to be used for physical education, athletics, and other school programs that need it.
Construction coordinator and associate superintendent Mike Mathiesen said construction of the auxiliary gymnasium is a 15 to 18 month project and demolition will begin on June 15, 2021.
According to Mathiesen, the tennis courts were the perfect place to place building materials without affecting the swimming pool, parking lot or newly constructed science buildings.
The announcement concerned those who generally use the courts.
“I did three years of tennis [at MVHS]and it was a great experience. I don’t want the freshman or sophomores to miss another season, ”said junior and tennis player Evelyn Yaskin at a recent board meeting.
College tennis coach Frank Smyth has raised some concerns about the storage of supplies, such as baskets and balls, in alternative training locations.
According to Mathieson, the district is ready to support tennis teams where possible, including district vans for transportation and finding suitable grounds in the absence of the campus.
“The Mountain View administration has already started contacting Mountain View Parks and Rec to try to secure certain grounds through Cuesta Park, Cooper Park or Rengstorff Park. There is absolutely no desire that there be no tennis program for a short time. It is important that the athletes still have a chance to play. We want to do everything we can to support this, even if it means another site temporarily during the impacts of construction, ”said Mathiesen.
Two members of the junior varsity women’s tennis team, freshmen Lara Fernando and Paulina Vvedenskaya, have launched a petition in response to the court’s closure. The goal of the petition is to “reopen the discussion in order to find a better solution and come to a compromise … which will work for both student tennis players and the community”.
This community was so tight-knit, especially since during COVID it is difficult to safely get out and interact with people.
Fernando started playing when she was young because her parents were both passionate about tennis. “I have always loved sport… [it]was like a chance to play with kids my age and compete with other people – just go out, have fun, ”said Fernando.
Fernando had played on his school’s college team and had since been excited to join “a real and competitive [high school team.]”
Vvedenskaya, on the other hand, started playing last spring in his early forties. “Tennis is a great way to exercise and also get to know other people who… like to do the same things that I love,” she said.
The girls had both heard of Smyth’s news and an email from the district on March 18.
“Honestly, I’m really sad because this community was so tight-knit, especially since during COVID it’s hard to get out and interact safely with other people,” Fernando said.
Removing the courts from MVHS will eliminate home games. “I think it takes the pride out of the school, like being able to host another school, coming to play with you in a home game is just something that you really can’t replace,” Fernando said.
The two freshmen decided to take steps to raise awareness by trying to publicize the petition as much as possible. Currently, QR codes are displayed in courts with the link to the petition. They aim to get 100 signatures, as Fernando thinks that would show just how “many people are mobilizing with [them.]”
The students recognize the difficulty of the situation but seek to compromise with the school district. As a compromise, Fernando suggested distributing building materials elsewhere than on the courts, such as the edge of the field.
“That way everyone is a little bit affected. This is not going to affect the sport as a whole… you will still have the majority of the field…[and]home court advantage. You will always have that sense of community, ”said Fernando.
The measure also affects public use of the courts, lending some community members support for the petition.
“Mountain View High School has courts near my home… I’ve tried going once or twice a week since September,” said Jason Chang, community member and 2011 alumnus, who signed the petition.
Chang started playing sports in his forties and plays once or twice a week with friends. “Playing together, interacting together and finally being able to see each other face to face even though there is a net in front of us, I think it has been really positive and uplifting for the whole community,” Chang said.
Playing a sport is a “great escape from it all and so… I’m sure every athlete… has that personal attachment to that home away from home,” Chang said.
The future of the tennis season has not yet been determined as no concrete plans for the transportation and relocation of the field have been developed for the teams for the fall 2021 season. Construction plans have been finalized. with the Division of State Architect, but the MVLA district is still ongoing. in discussion with the MV Parks and Recreation center to find plausible locations that can accommodate dozens of players.