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Penn Hills school officials mull options for track surface, possible future tennis courts

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 8:07 p.m.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
The existing tennis courts at Linton Middle School, which are cracked and without nets. School board officials voted in favor of advertising for bids to build new tennis courts.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
Above, tennis courts at Linton Middle School, shown in winter. One parent suggested renovating the courts for practice purposes and only renting Boyce Park court space for matches as a cost-saving measure.

If municipal officials reintroduce tennis courts to Penn Hills, they might look to partner with the school district.

A meeting this month held by the parks and recreation department to gauge community interest in re-establishing tennis courts in the municipality drew a packed room.

Discussion focused mainly on the possibility of restoring the courts at Universal Park, but district athletic director John Peterman spoke about the challenge that tennis team members and others have with the lack of on-site athletic facilities.

Tennis team members are bused to Boyce Park where they practice on rented courts.

At a recent school board finance committee meeting, business director Rick Liberto said Parks and Recreation Department Director John Scaglione had mentioned potentially sharing in the cost of restoring courts.

Those discussions were still in the preliminary stages, Scaglione said.

The topic was raised during a finance committee discussion on a project which school-district officials consider more urgent: resurfacing the track at Yuhas-McGinley Stadium.

Liberto presented the board with three samples from the Illinois-based Track Surfaces Company, to give an idea of costs for replacing the 15-year-old, seven-lane track.

The samples included three options of low, medium and high quality. They ranged from a basic track (expected to last four or five years) with a $60,000 estimate to an NCAA-standard track (expected to last 12 years) with a $200,000 estimate.

Liberto said the samples did not necessarily represent the district's only options.

Finance committee member Carl Barbarino suggested that, if the district partnered with the municipality on tennis courts, school officials might solicit bids for both projects.

Regardless of whether the two become part of the same bid award, Liberto said time was of the essence when it came to the track.

“If you want it done in time for the coming track season, we'll need to get going on it,” he told the committee.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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