On September 27, the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Eldorado K-8 School unveiled the first permanent, public QuickStart tennis courts to be built in Colorado. Dignitaries that attended the ribbon cutting included Robyn Hamasaki, Principal; Jeff Van Iwarden, Master of Ceremonies; Terry Walters, United States Tennis Association (USTA) Intermountain Executive Director; Fritz Garger, USTA Colorado Executive Director; Tom Josephs, Lee Renner Sports Surfaces; Joel Munch, community donor; Sue Burke, community advocate and Lisa Christie, community advocate.
Burke and Christie first approached the school about this project in 2009 since the previous courts at the school were unplayable and the gates were locked. Burke said, “Myself and my business partner, Lisa Christie, wanted to create more tennis opportunities within Boulder Valley School District and introduce QuickStart Tennis to the elementary schools and local community. Terry Walters facilitated the funding with the USTA and USTA Intermountain, but still needing additional funding, we began a long series of meetings with various entities in the BVSD, community tennis organizations, and the Town of Superior, and spent lots of time advocating for the project within the community. We faced a lot of challenges because of the economy and the school system budget cuts and contract negotiations in BVSD. Thankfully, just about a week before Lisa and I were going to run at tennis booth at the Superior Chili Fest to fundraise, Joel Munch, a parent from Eldorado, offered a large donation to bring the project to fruition.”
Thanks to a partnership with the USTA, USTA Intermountain, Boulder Valley School District and the Joel Munch family of Superior, Colorado, funds were raised to repair and redesign the tennis courts. Eldorado now has one full-sized court with 60’ lines painted on it for 10 and under play and four 36’ courts for 8 and under play. These are the first 36’ courts to be built in Colorado.
“This is a perfect example of a partnership between the USTA, the school district and the community that could be duplicated in other locations providing our 10 and under youth an opportunity to learn the sport of tennis,” said Terry Walters, USTA Intermountain Executive Director.
After the ribbon cutting, kids rushed to play on the new QuickStart courts. QuickStart Tennis is a new format to help kids 10 and under learn and play the game. The QuickStart Tennis play format, one of the most significant moves ever to introduce tennis to youth, provides a way to bring kids 10 and under into the game by utilizing equipment, court dimensions, and scoring that is tailored to their age and size.
“We hope that with access to permanent QuickStart courts, the tennis community and school district will begin to embrace the QuickStart format. Kids can learn to play the game of tennis much faster with the appropriate size racquet, courts, and balls. Kids can maneuver the racquets much better, the proper grips will evolve because they will not be playing with balls that bounce too fast and too high for their age, and they will actually be able to play the game of tennis on a court that is appropriate for their size and skill level. We have received great feedback thus far from the community because the location of the school and courts allows kids to walk or ride their bikes to the courts. Ultimately, we want kids to think about tennis not as a series of lessons, but as a game that they can go into their neighborhood and play with friends and family,” said Sue Burke.