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District redoing tennis courts
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The new Ceres High tennis court facility was supposed to be completed last December. But a change in plans and several mistakes has delayed the opening of the $100,000 project.

"All I can tell you is they ran into some problems and they're going to fix it," said Ceres girls tennis coach Bryan Harden. "All we can do is wait until they're ready and use them at that time."

"It's been a very frustrating process for everybody," said Jay Simmonds, CUSD facility planner. "I think we are near the end. I envision it being done within the next couple of weeks."

FF&J Architects and Applegate Johnson are picking up the tab.

"They admitted it was their mistake and they're making it right," Simmonds said.

Added Hanline: "Until it's done, we won't know what the total cost is."

School architect Gary Mallory created plans for the project. Original plans called for concrete courts. Upon Harden's request and the district's approval, Mallory switched to asphalt.

"We moved so quickly in making that decision that the slope thing was overlooked," Simmonds said. "It took forever to come up with a solution to fix it. We're going to add asphalt to one side to bring it up."

The district has to redo the courts because they're not USTA approved.

"They didn't leave it like that because we would have had to forfeit all of our matches," Harden said. "Under (United States Tennis Association) guidelines, those courts have to be done a certain way."

Applegate Johnson goofed up when installing light posts.

"The electrical contractor did not align the poles correctly and then they ordered the wrong poles," Simmonds said. "That set us back for several months."

The girls tennis team, the defending Central California Conference champion, started practicing on Aug. 16.

The Bulldogs will train at the SOS Club and Roeding Heights Park and play away from home until their courts are completed. "I had a tournament scheduled, which is obviously going to have to be pushed back," Harden said. "Any home preseason matches are going to have to be on the road."

Said Simmonds: "I'm hoping they'll be pleased with it when it's done. We apologize for any inconvenience."

The boys and girls tennis teams played all of their matches on the road during the 2003-2004 school as a result of the setbacks. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier