RHS tennis tradition given no consideration

Dear editor,

In May 2007, Rockdale ISD voters said yes to the $30.8 million bond construction project for the much-needed improvements to our schools. We cast our own "YES" votes and are extremely impressed with the newly added upgrades and square footage to the RISD campuses.

It now appears that promises made regarding the replacement of some facilities, those that had to be demolished to allow for the newly expanded high school, will not be kept.

We are referring to the tennis courts. We recall attending an open meeting where questions could be asked regarding the planned facilities. At that time we raised a concern about the planned demolition of the existing high school tennis courts.

It was explained that those courts were in the way of the new high school and would have to be sacrificed to make room for the school. We were told, and reassured, that there were plans to rebuild them in another location, yet to be determined.

There is presently no tennis facility on the high school grounds, and to our knowledge, no immediate plans for replacing them. There is however, between $20-30,000 unspent funds going back to the district.

Obviously we are raising this issue because of the recent, and not unanimous, decision to build a new baseball complex at a cost of $750,000. We find this decision to upgrade the existing baseball field, with its big dollar sign attached, inconsistent with what we were told would happen. (Need we be reminded that during the school construction phase, money was also found to resurface the existing HS track).

We understand that there are some av id baseball fans and coaches, and we like baseball, too. It is just that there is a fairly good baseball field now, and replacing the tennis courts would, and should, come before upgrading an existing baseball facility.

Most, if not all 3A (and likely A thru 5A) schools, have tennis courts as part of their athletic facilities, and most of them are lighted.

Those who know and follow Rockdale sports history would agree that Rockdale ISD has a rich heritage of quality high school tennis players. There have been state tennis champions, finalists and state tournament qualifiers from Rockdale ISD.

To our way of thinking, not providing a tennis facility that was supposed to be replaced when the original one was torn down, sends a very bad message indeed, not only in regards to keeping one's word, but about the value of this sport in the school system.

We are extremely disappointed that a promise made to the citizens of Rockdale by the school board has not been kept.

Learning to compete in this life-time sport is one of the least expensive sports activities that a school can provide.

Perhaps par t of t he prob - lem is that there are no strong advocates for tennis within the athletic department.

Gary and Annette Griesbach

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2009-10-08 digital edition

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