Having decided to go another course, Park Manor Public School’s parent council is instead turning the dilapidated tennis courts into a whole new outdoor area, complete with volleyball courts, basketball courts, a high jump pit, a triple jump pit and an accessible sitting area.
Park Manor’s parent council surveyed the students to find out what they’d like to see done to their outdoor space to improve it.
Last year the council started fundraising to repair the tennis courts, which would have cost in the range of $20,000.
Parent council chair Sam Hutton says they would have needed a few more years of fundraising to redo the tennis courts, and they found the students had other, less expensive interests.
She notes the students will only be at the school for two years as it’s changing to a Grade 7-8 school in the fall, and the council wanted to make the improvements in time for some of the current students to make good use of it.
“I think that’s why this is a perfect opportunity to start the full project now,” Hutton said.
They also sent a letter explaining the proposed enhancements to everyone who had donated from their fundraising efforts for the tennis courts, and she says the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“The students did vote for a volleyball court that they also could use for long jump pits and triple jump pits. They were very excited that it’s multipurpose. And they can actually keep the net out as well during the winter and they can use it all year round,” Hutton said.
The enhancements will cost approximately $10,000, which they had already raised for the tennis courts. Construction is expected to begin soon and be completed in time for the next school year.
They let the community know about the upcoming changes at a recent open house at the school.
In the survey, many students expressed an interest in a quiet seating areas where they could talk with their friends or read. They’ll also be painting new lines on the pavement for junior high type games like four square, and fixing the tether balls.
“It’s not just focusing on one element. You’ve got the volleyball, you’ve got the basketball, you’ve got tetherball, you’ve got outside four square and other junior high activities, as well as you have the nice seating area which is wheelchair accessible for kids that just want to sit around and talk to their friends or want to do reading or extra homework,” Hutton said.
The parent council hopes the improvements will also be beneficial for people in Elmira looking to get out and be active by providing them with a few options rather than just the tennis courts. She says parents are glad to hear the outdoor area will finally be getting revamped.
Hutton notes her son’s excited to play on the new basketball courts and the four square.
“I know there’s a group of people that are excited for the sitting area, as well as the volleyball. They’re very excited because now they can have parents and kids and more kids and parents can participate, as well as other community members. With the volleyball you can have one-on-one, or you can have five-on-five or you can have eight-on-eight, where tennis you’re limited to two or three or four,” Hutton said.
She says the tennis court initiative was all about making positive changes for students at Park Manor, but upon deeper reflection it would take too long to complete and they could include more students’ interests by creating a multipurpose space.
“I think it’s exciting to get it started right away. I just think it shows that the council’s working together, the students are part of it and the teachers are part of it, as well as the community. The community has really helped out and we’re a school that really believes in community. And I think it’s important for all the kids because they can come out, and come out with different things and just have some enjoyment out there.”