Parents frustrated at the lack of progress to rebuild faulty tennis courts let their voices be heard Monday night during a meeting of the Tuloso-Midway Independent School District Board of Trustees.
School board members were given an update on the proposed reconstruction and designs of tennis court facilities at the district's middle and high school campuses. Included in the presentation were two separate designs for each of the tennis courts that either included an additional nine feet to the surface area or did not.
The added space would allow for a covered spectator area, comprised of a series of bleachers, to be built in the middle of each facility, architect Raymond Gignac said.
The district filed a lawsuit in February 2010 against the project's contractor due to the poor condition of the courts, which have cracking, chipping and uneven levels all across their surface. Included in that lawsuit are the courts at the middle school, as well.
The total cost for both tennis courts, which have yet to see a game played on them since being completed last year, was $2.2 million.
That litigation is still pending, according to online court records.
The district in December issued $2.5 million in maintenance tax notes that will pay for the reconstruction of both courts.
"There's no room for error here - we've got to get it right this time," Ricardo Rodriguez, the district's financial consultant, said.
However, parents present at Monday's meeting expressed some displeasure at the fact that this school year is the second consecutive year that T-M middle and high school students have not had tennis courts to play or practice on.
Students at the middle school, at times, have had to hold practice in the middle school parking lot. High school tennis players were, at one point, getting bused to Robstown High School in the mornings and the H-E-B Tennis Courts in the afternoons to use their facilities for practice.
"It's like we're the outcasts, because (tennis) is not a prime sport like football, or baseball or even weightlifting," Jane Jalufka, who has children who play tennis for TMHS, said. "As it is now, these kids cannot take ownership of tennis at Tuloso-Midway."
Jalufka's 16-year-old son, Ryan, is a sophomore at Tuloso-Midway High School. He said the situation has been hard on the program and its players.
"It's been terrible," he said. "A lot of people have wanted to quit."
Interim Superintendent Sue Nelson acknowledged that the situation has not been ideal for the program or its players, but asked parents to remain optimistic about the district's second attempt at new tennis courts.
"All I can do is ask you to be patient a little bit longer," she said.
Gignac said the project is scheduled to go out for bid on April 4, with the district expecting to award the construction contract on April 11. The high school tennis courts will be given priority in the construction order, with demolition starting there first, then followed by the middle school.