Local tennis players were disappointed earlier this month when they went to Case High School to play on the school's new tennis courts and discovered they were locked.
It was surprising because the courts had been open to the public before they were were re-surfaced, along with the courts at Horlick High School, last year with $651,000 in referendum money.
However, a check with Racine Unified Spokesperson Stacy Tapp and a visit to the courts ourselves shows the courts - at least some of them - will be open for public use.
After checking with Case Activities Director Rupnow, Tapp said the district's policy is to unlock the tennis courts when a building engineer is on duty. An engineer is typically on duty from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The courts are not available for use during school days or when they're being used by the high school tennis teams.
The courts can also be reserved by a group or individual. The fee is $5 per court per hour, including a $25 deposit and a certificate of insurance.
We visited the Case High School courts on April 21 to test if the district was keeping with its policy. We found four of the new courts were unlocked and open for play, and eight were locked. It's unclear if more courts will be opened, as needed, or if the district will keep some locked up. On the day we visited, there was nice weather, but no one playing.
The new courts at Case and Horlick are a coups for local tennis players, who had been struggling to find decent, free courts in recent years. While the city has invested in nice new courts at Lakeview Park, some had complained about the new style of surface that was used. The city also resurfaced the courts at Lockwood Park, but paint is chipping off the surface, obscruring some lines and creating an unattractive appearance.
The new Unified courts were badly needed. They replace courts that were cracked and uneven, creating a difficult playing environment for the district's boys and girls tennis teams.
Update: Here's the official policy for use of Case High School's tennis courts:
Case Tennis Court Usage Policies
1. The Case tennis courts are not available during the school day or during interscholastic events.
2. The second set of four courts labeled D2 will be unlocked for public use. All other courts will be locked for individuals or groups making reservations.
3. In order for an individual or group to secure (reserve) a court or courts, a Racine Unified School District Facility Use Form must be completed. This individual becomes the “responsible adult”. Individuals or group leaders must provide a certificate of insurance. For private citizens, this means a policy that covers you and the group playing.
4. The Facility Use Form should be completed and sent to Mike Rupnow, Activities Director at Case High School. Mike Rupnow will approve the request for availability and send the form to the Racine Unified School District’s Building and Grounds Department for their approval.
5. The “responsible adult” named on the Facility Use Form, may secure a key for the tennis courts with a $25 deposit with Mike Rupnow. The adult will be responsible for the key through the date of reservation.
6. The “responsible adult” will be billed $5.00 per hour per court that is used by the Racine Unified School District’s Buildings and Grounds.