What a difference a handful of volunteers and a state-of-the-art resurfacing project can do for a community’s spirits.
With the help of a school communities’ initiative grant and over 25 helping hands, the once decaying and weed-choked tennis and basketball court at Fruitvale Elementary was transformed last week, receiving a dream makeover by Interior Sport Court from the Okanagan.
“It was last fall we got the school communities initiative grant to help pay for it,” said Melissa Lyle, Fruitvale’s special projects assistant. “It’s pretty skookum – even when you run on it you can feel how cushiony it is.”
The 150-by-90-foot court is divided into three sections, a tennis, basketball, and ball hockey court; using over 13,000 polypropylene tiles, it is non-abrasive, forgiving, and durable.
“All our kids are extremely excited and I know a lot of them are coming to school and saying that they’re already using it in the evening,” said vice-principal Brian Baldwin.
“The court is spectacular.”
The new court provides students with more active options at lunch hour and after school, and Baldwin, also the school district’s elementary athletics coordinator, is thinking of ways to get full use out of it.
“We’re starting to talk about how we can use it, especially at lunch time,” said Baldwin.
“The three courts allow the kids to come with their roller blades and sticks, and shoot some baskets on one side and then skateboard on the tennis court.”
The school originally asked for a new court about seven years ago, but funding always fell short.
Until last fall, when the village received the $25,000 communities initiatives grant that paved the way for the project.
Volunteers prepped the original court by removing all the weeds, filling the cracks, and sweeping the asphalt before laying down the tiles Thursday and Friday to finish the project.
“The installation was good, we did end up with a lot of help so it was just two days,” said Lyle.
The surface needed 24 hours to rest before it could be used but eager athletes were waiting the moment it was ready.
“I went to open it up and I hadn’t even finished taking the signs down and there were already a handful of kids there,” she added.
The total cost for the project is $57,000 offset by the $25,000 initiatives grant.
The grand opening will go Saturday, May 28 during the three-on-three street-hockey tournament as part of Fruitvale’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of May Days.