Spanish Springs tennis coach Lynn Rapp knew that when she began exploring some options on how to add a shaded seating area to the Cougars' tennis courts. Rapp, who has been the only SSHS girls tennis coach in school history, starting the program in the fall of 2001, started that project three years ago.
After a flurry of fundraising and cutting through a massive amount of red tape, the project is finally done.
"It was definitely needed, especially any time you play your season here in late August and September," Rapp said.
Now that the project is complete, there are two permanent structures in place adjacent to the tennis courts that provide some seating and much-needed shade. Rapp said the structures are a luxury for parents and fans who will watch matches but also a necessity for student athletes needing to get out of the sun during their breaks between matches.
"Our athletes play three rounds of matches every time we have a team match," Rapp said. "Inevitably, they are always wanting a little shade cover."
The Spanish Springs tennis program raised roughly $12,000 to get the project finished. More than half of that came thanks to a $7,000 grant donation from the Coca Cola company.
"Coke was great," Rapp said. "I had a friend that works for Coke who said 'we put scoreboards in schools sometimes, why not ask about this.' So we went through Coke locally and they turned the project into their corporate offices. They were a huge help. They asked, 'what do you need to get the project finished?' Now that the structures are done, I'd like to get Coke some credit and get their name on them somewhere."
As it turns out, the fundraising was the easy part. The Cougars had the funds raised two years ago. Still, there were plenty of logistical hurdles to clear along the way. Rapp had multiple designs drawn up but school district policy is rigid.
"We went through the gamut," Rapp said, alluding to issues that came up along the way. "We talked to a couple different structural architects ... It ended up being a 22-month process, after we raised the funds.
"There were frustrations, but I get it. The district wanted something good in place. We're the first school to do this so we had to jump through the most hoops."
An earlier fundraising effort allowed Spanish Springs to install a hitting wall. Three years ago, the district did pay for a court resurfacing project. Rapp said the improvements have paid and will pay more dividends.
"I think we've got the nicest high school tennis facility in the area," she said. "A lot of people will take advantage of this. Our P.E. teachers can come here and address the kids in some shade. I've already seen the public safety motorcycle classes that use our parking lot use them, and of course our tennis kids. It's 10 degrees cooler in the shade. It's nice to have it all done. I'm really excited."