- Early College Academy
Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM celebrates new tennis, sport courts
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
As students walk back into the Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM building this year, many for the first time since March of 2020, they will notice newly remodeled spaces, bright, inspirational signage and artwork, and most recently, new tennis and sport courts.
On July 30, BCCS hosted its first event on the courts and looks forward to opening up the courts for public use this fall. Four of the courts are multipurpose sport courts used for pickleball, volleyball and other physical education activities. The other four courts are tennis courts replacing the former tennis courts that were built in the 1990s.
“We are grateful for our community partners and donors who worked with us and invested in these courts,” said Seth Ryan, director of community engagement at BCCS. “We know that regular exercise helps children build healthy habits for the rest of their life. Plus, regular exercise helps their brains grow strong so they can learn and grow in school.”
Bringing BC tennis teams back home
For the last three seasons, BC tennis teams have been bussed to other locations for practice and have been unable to host any matches at home. With the new tennis courts, BC tennis teams will redefine a home-court advantage and be able to practice with just a few minutes’ walking commute to the courts. BCCS staff hope to see more students sign up for tennis as a result of these new courts.
“Kids will see we are investing in this program now [with a] brand new facility,” said Nate Gautsch, athletic director at Brooklyn Center High School. “It makes you want to be a part of that.”
A community investment
Replacing these courts was possible only through significant investments from community partners. A large portion of the funding ($250,000) came from a Hennepin County Youth Sports Grant. Through the Youth Sports Grant program, Hennepin County is focused on serving residents at all levels, bringing equipment, facilities and playgrounds into our communities to improve the health and wellbeing of all children.
“Everyone who goes to that school will see new tennis courts, whether they play tennis or not,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Lunde. “And they will know that people invested in them.”
Since it began in 2009, Hennepin Youth Sports has awarded more than $27.6 million for facility, small equipment and playground projects, along with water safety lessons. Proceeds from the Twins ballpark sales tax support this program.
“We are the bridge,” said Thomas Rupp, Hennepin County Youth Sports Grants program manager. “We connect the last dollars to get a project completed.”
The remaining expenses of the project ($426,000) were financed by BCCS and will be paid over the next ten years through a lease levy.