Irrigation project completed at old tennis courts site

School District 55 has nearly completed the installation of irrigation on the site of the old tennis courts.

At the School Board’s Aug. 9 meeting, resident Hollie Houston complained about water going to waste, puddling up and overflowing from the area.

The tennis courts were removed in 2008 after the School Board accepted an offer from the Sweet Home Economic Development Group to pay $25,000 for the removal of the old courts along the back driveway from 18th Avenue into Sweet Home High School.

The existing courts were cracked and in such poor condition that the district’s insurance company had forced the district to padlock some of them, according to Supt. Larry Horton.

SHEDG provided an additional $75,000 in matching grant funds. The district received a $20,000 grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation and $38,200 in two grants from the U.S. Tennis Association to install six new courts along 18th Avenue, between the bus barn and the varsity baseball field.

Prior to the removal of the old tennis courts, SHEDG paid for the installation of irrigation on the south fields at Sweet Home High School. After the removal of the old courts, the district watered the new turf with portable water lines moved by hand.

The new irrigation should quickly pay for itself with reduced water usage, said Business Manager Kevin Strong. The district also will no longer need to use employees to move the sprinklers.

The project should cost less than $5,000, Strong said.