Residents addressed the run-down condition of the Laguna Beach High School tennis courts at Thursday night’s school board meeting.
Glenn Rogers asserted that the facility — which is jointly owned by the city and school — needs serious repairs. After going to the city, Rogers said officials told him they had $210,000 to fund the project, but that the district would have to provide $90,000.
“It was pretty clear they were sitting there with a check for $210,000,” he said, adding that the city insinuated it might be spent elsewhere if the district didn’t act soon.
“There seemed to be this dark cloud, this frustration, over things needing to be done by the city,” Chelsea Loomis told the board. An avid player, Loomis said many pros don’t use the facility because of its state, which she said included uneven courts that need to be repainted.
David Vanderveen, a father of two, said he’s noticed the damage on the courts for two years and hasn’t seen any upgrades. He also insinuated that people who work in the school’s sports departments were discouraged by superiors at the district not to attend the meeting.
Although Supt. Sherine Smith isn’t obligated to respond to visitors comments and non-agenda items, she responded by saying she “certainly did not tell anyone not to come.”
Norma Shelton, assistant superintendent of business services, explained that the district and city were in negotiations and discussing an upgrade in the summer.
Every year principals develop a facility project list with health and safety as the priorities, Shelton said. If $90,000 from maintenance funds were to go to tennis courts, she said, that would mean other fundamental school maintenance projects — like heating or window replacement — would be ignored.
The concerned residents, who grew more understanding after seeing a budget presentation, asked if the improvements would be more feasible if fundraising were done to cover the costs.
“I don’t know how much it will cost, but if the funding was available, it would be something that could be considered,” Shelton said.
Shelton also mentioned the complicated approval, planning and bidding process, which the district and city would still be 100% involved with, regardless of how the funds were accumulated, because it’s still their property. General construction and school construction standards would be have to be met as well.
Smith said she will meet with the city to get a plan made so they have tangible numbers to consider.