The city schools are working on two major construction projects this summer – resurfacing its six tennis courts at a cost of $50,000 and continuing work on the new Fine Arts Center at a cost of just more than $8 million.
The tennis courts will be closed for at least two weeks beginning next Monday while they are repaired and resurfaced, said Steve Spofford, chief operating officer for the school system.
“The courts are very old,” Spofford said. “We’ve had a lot of cracks. A lot of those cracks are caused because of in-ground water and this should help dramatically.”
Talbot Tennis, based in Marietta, is repairing the cracks and resurfacing the courts. They’re also going to replace all the net anchors and the nets as well as re-stripe the courts. The system also hired another contractor to repair the fencing around the courts. Spofford expects the resurfaced courts to stay crack free anywhere from two to five years.
Tennis courts have to be resurfaced every so often because of normal wear and tear. The school system’s courts, which are built on what used to be the flood plain of Buffalo Creek, tend to flood in the spring as underground water bubbles to the surface, speeding up the normal breakdown of the surface.
The school system uses the courts during the tennis season. The rest of the year, the courts are open to the public and see a lot of use over the summer.
“We’ve never had a survey to find out how much they’re used, but I can tell you from casual observance that the public seems to be using it more than we do,” Spofford said.
The school system is also working on its fine arts center, which is scheduled to open March 2010. The $8 million project is proceeding on time and just a tad under budget, Spofford said. The footprint of the building is up and now the brick veneer is being added to the walls. Once the building is completely walled in, people won’t be able to see much of the work being done.
“You have these stages,” Spofford said. “When you’re working in the ground, everybody thinks, ‘Well it’s never going to come out of the ground. They’re not really getting anything done.’ Then once the walls go up they go up very quickly and everybody says, ‘Man they’re really moving fast on that place.’ But once it’s dried in the stuff that takes so much time begins and so it looks like it slows down again.”
However, that is not the case. There will be a lot of work going on inside the building that people won’t be able to see, things like electrical work, sound and lighting systems, closed circuit television system, the stage, seating and orchestra pit as well as the classroom space and bathrooms that are being added.
Inside, the risers for the 900-plus seats are in place, the classroom and bathroom space is visible.
“You could actually stand on the stage,” Spofford said. “You can see the orchestra pit before it’s all connected and finished.”
The finished arts center, which is being funded by special purpose local option sales tax dollars, will include bathrooms for the stadium on the outside, classroom and lab space for the drama and art programs as well as the stage and auditorium.
J & R Construction is the contractor on the project.