Geneseo High School will soon have tennis courts on school property.

Geneseo High School will soon have tennis courts on school property.

School officials plan to construct 10 courts west of State Street, adjacent to the high school’s main parking lot. The space is presently used as a soccer practice field.

Currently, Geneseo High School tennis players utilize six courts at Richmond Hill Park. The courts are owned by the City of Geneseo, but rented by the school district.

“We knew there was a need for additional tennis courts,” said Tim Gronski, chief school business official for the Geneseo School District.

A parent-led group had asked the district to consider building additional courts in 2015, and there was more discussion regarding the courts at the ProjectLEAF community meetings.

Having 10 courts “gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of the number of events we can host” said Gronski. Ten courts would allow GHS to host conference and section contests. The courts also could be used by gym classes.

Prior to the school district deciding to build the courts on school property, City of Geneseo officials had mulled options to expand the number of courts at Richmond Hill as part of an overall design plan created for Richmond Hill.

Officials from Hitchcock Design Group toured the park, met with community members and asked for public response to an online survey before developing their proposal.

In order to fit 10 courts at Richmond Hill, the parking lot would need to be narrowed and extensive groundwork completed to provided a two-tiered court area.

“That was going to be very costly, and economically, it wasn’t a good idea to expand the tennis courts at Richmond Hill,” said Gronski. “We had flat land on the west side (of the school property) and knew it would be more economical for us to build.”

When not used by the school district, a set number of the courts could be used by members of the public, said superintendent Scott Kuffel.

Whereas now the school pays the city to utilize the courts, a reverse deal, in which the city rents courts for the public from the school district could be put in place.

The cost to install 10 courts, with lighting, at Geneseo High School is estimated to be between $40,000 and $80,000. The district has applied for a grant from the Geneseo Foundation to help off-set costs.

Funds for the project would come from the money raised by a one-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2013 which can only be used for school facilities.

District officials expect to award bids for the new tennis courts in mid-May. Construction would take place during the summer months, and Kuffel said he hopes to have the courts ready for the fall girls’ tennis season.

“If they’re not finished by the start of the season, we’re still able to use the Richmond Hill courts,” he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s a long-term investment for the district,” he said.

Building the courts will mean the GHS soccer teams lose a practice facility. The land also was used by the marching band as a practice field.

“The marching band will be able to practice on the turf football field, and we will find a place for the soccer to practice. Everything will work out,” said Gronski.