SYVUHS tennis courts illuminated

Students and faculty from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School plus members of the SYHS Tennis Boosters and business owners who helped bring lighting to the campus tennis courts pose for a group photo after the new lights were installed. The lights are available for community players as well as the Pirates tennis teams.

A recent partnership between the high school Tennis Boosters and the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District resulted in a long-hoped-for campus upgrade.

All six tennis courts now have lights that allow the SYVUHS tennis teams and community members alike to play in the evening and at night.

“There is no other facility like it in the Valley,” said district Superintendent Scott Cory.

With a $76,000 price tag, coming up with the necessary funds was a tall order, and 12 years of fundraising efforts by the Boosters raised $38,000.

A more recent effort spearheaded by SYVUHS parent and Tennis Boosters member Denise Allec raised the balance through a contribution from the school district and through donated labor and a reduction in the cost of materials.

Jennifer Rasmussen, the girl’s tennis coach for 22 years, also played a key role in bringing the project to fruition, Cory said.

Installation work began in July, and with support from local businesses Just LED, owned by SYVUHS parent Jez Blacker, and Erickson Electric, owned by SYVUHS parent and alumnus Lonnie Erickson, the job was completed after several weeks of summer work.

“Lonnie Erickson really stretched our dollars through a very generous gift of labor,” Allec said. “The project would not have been completed without it.”

The new lighting will allow high school tennis teams to practice and play games after dark.

Coin-operated switches that turn on the lights as needed until 10 p.m., seven days a week, will also allow members of the community to use the courts after dark.

The cost is 50 cents for 20 minutes, which lights two courts at the same time. Use is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“This project is a result of a local partnership that will benefit both students and other community members,” Cory said. “I would like to offer sincere thanks to the Tennis Boosters and the local businesses that gave so much time, effort and financial resources to make this happen.

“On a related note, thanks also needs to go out to Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation for building these courts for us more than 20 years ago,” he added. “All of this is another great example of the Valley coming together to make something special happen.”

This report was compiled by News Editor Mike Hodgson. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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