MANKATO — It's been nearly two years in the making, and, by most accounts, the wait has been worth it.
The Mankato East/Loyola and Mankato West girls tennis teams have been playing on new facilities, this fall and the reviews have been positive.
At East, the seven old courts were completely demolished, one end of the facility was pushed out and seven new courts were built. The courts included a viewing area, complete with covered cantilever between Courts 3 and 4.
At West, the back three courts have been discontinued for use in varsity matches due to disrepair. Instead, three courts were built adjacent to the front four courts along Riverfront Drive.
The four older courts have been resurfaced. New fencing was put around all of the courts and a retaining wall on the south end was installed.
"It's pretty nice," West senior Andrea Erdman said. "I'm glad they were able to get it done before I graduated."
The new facilities were paid for by the school district, along with grants obtained from the United States Tennis Association. According to Jerry Kolander, the director of business affairs for the school district, the total cost for the two facilities was about $450,000.
East boys tennis coach Paul Williams and West tennis coach Adam Doll were largely responsible for getting the grants. Each school received $7,500 from the Northern Section of the USTA. Then an additional $40,000 was awarded to East and another $15,000 went to West in the form of national grants from the USTA.
Doll believes the community's commitment to USTA programs, particularly on the youth side, was one of the main reasons the organization looked favorably on Mankato. Doll and his wife, Sarah, oversee the local USTA team tennis program during the summer, and it has become on of the largest in the state — including those in the metro area.