(COVINGTON, La.) The St. Paul’s tennis courts have proudly stood at the corner of S. Jefferson Avenue and W. 12th Avenue for decades. The two-and-a-half court set up has evidently worked well for the state championship-winning tennis program. Although, in recent years it has become increasingly dilapidated.
However, due to the ever-increasing issue of parking spaces, the St. Paul’s administration has decided to demolish the tennis courts in favor of parking.
“They shredded my home,” senior tennis player Kent Shiell said.
The St. Paul’s tennis team will now move their daily practices to the Stone Creek Health and Tennis Club.
The issue with the current courts does not lie simply in the poor condition, but also in the fact that a school requires four courts to host a tournament, and the SPS courts were not adequate to host an event. Moreover, as the St. Paul’s student body continues to grow, the already strained parking situation is sure to proliferate. In an effort to solve the problem, the administration saw no other option than converting the tennis courts.
“The plan was to originally buy the duplex next to the current tennis court to make room for new courts…the man who owns the duplex refused to sell,” Principal Trevor Watkins said.
Yet, those affiliated with the tennis team are persistent in their assertion that there must be courts on campus.
“I feel as a tennis team we need courts to practice on, whether that comes now or in the future, but we definitely need courts at some point,” Assistant Tennis Coach Andrew Dart said.
However, the construction of the new lot will provide much needed parking relief for events held in the school’s Briggs Assembly Center, which is located on the opposite side of S. Jefferson Avenue.
The original tennis court slab will be kept for the parking lot itself, but city ordinances require landscaping and trees to surround any new construction project, Watkins said.
To deal with irrigation concerns arising from the landscaping, a water spigot was installed in the middle of the parking lot. In order to supply water access to the spigot, a pipe was run from Lasalle Hall across the street to the spigot. Two smaller pipes were also run at the same time to provide electricity to a lamp which will be installed to illuminate the parking lot.
According to Watkins, the pipes will connect to Lasalle Hall, the water pipe tapping into a water line running into the upstairs Lasalle bathroom, and the electrical lines tapping into the Lasalle circuit breaker.
Because S. Jefferson Avenue runs in between Lasalle Hall and the new parking lot, there were additional complications in placing the pipes. Public utilities such as gas and water lines were first located, and then Gulf Mechanical Contractors used a boring company to drill a hole under the street and place the pipes underground.