A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why West’s new courts are locked again

Written August 18th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

On Aug.16, a lock and chain made sure no one got through this gate at the new tennis courts of West Albany High School.

The weekend before last, you could get in and practice your tennis on the new courts at West Albany High. Now you can’t because the place is locked up tight, and here’s why.

An Aug. 8 story on the courts on hh-today scored a response a few days later from reader Molly Miller. “I’m glad the courts were being used,” she wrote. “But the light poles in the courts pose quite a hazard for anyone playing a game of tennis.”

The biggest hazard, in her opinion, was posed by poles between the two courts that are side by side. “Those hard metal poles in the middle of what is a playing area are accidents waiting to happen.”

I don’t know if she was the only one to point this out, or if others made the same argument to the school or district. In any case, the American Sports Builders Association has this to say about side space on tennis courts: “Not less than 12 feet is required from the side line to a fixed obstruction (i.e. sidestop, light pole, wall, etc).”

Based on the doubles and singles side lines, which are 4.5 feet apart, the poles between the courts at West, as you can see below, are about 6.4 feet from the outside lines, about half the required minimum.

I asked spokesman Andrew Tomsky of the Greater Albany Public Schools about this. “The information I’ve received,” he replied, “is that the lights are being relocated at the architect’s expense, and the courts will be locked until that happens.”

Another response came from David McKay of HMK Company, the owner’s representative overseeing all the school district’s renovations and new construction, of which the courts at West are a part.

“The school district appreciates the player safety concerns that have been raised in regard to the lighting pole placement …,” McKay emailed me. “A plan is in place to remove the two poles that are located at the corners between the paired courts (and are obstructing play) and retrofitting the already installed pole at the center court with four lights to illuminate both courts. The tennis courts have been secured and will not be used until the safety concerns are addressed.”

I wondered about the cost of the courts and the expense of the fix. But the overall cost is part of the entire West Albany expansion project — some $62 million — and not readily broken out. As for the repair, McKay said they’re seeking pricing of that and hope to get it in the next two weeks. (hh)

The back gate was secured as well.


Posted in: Uncategorized

12 responses to “Why West’s new courts are locked again”

  1. thomas cordier says:

    Another example of bureaucrat at a desk setting designs that don’t work. Reminds one of the methods used by GAPS to “teach” elementary math. I’ve been in the classroom and watched the method fail over and over. Even the retired Pres. of LBCC siad their methods don’t work so CC must do remedial math for WA and SA students

  2. Jay Clark says:

    The lights on the side of the courts are an accident waiting to happen also! Why wouldn’t you have someone build/design the courts that has any knowledge about them?

    • Dick Olsen says:

      When you insist that a project must be awarded to the lowest bidder, you sometimes get an unfortunate result. I’m guessing that this project went to the lowest bidder.

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Was it the low bidder that designed this project, or was it the low bidder that built the project to the specifications that were given them?

        • Spradan says:

          Rich, you are correct in both statements. It was designed by the lowest bidder, and constructed by the lowest bidder. (Lowest bidder with reputable background of course)

      • thomas cordier says:

        Dick–we went to the Moon and back with lowest bidders. Nice try! who is going to investigate this SNAFU

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        What don’t you understand about “…..the lights are being relocated at the architect’s expense…..”

      • Al says:

        After that comment, I think it is probably time for you to retire. If the contractor didn’t build to specs, get them to rectify the problem. In this case, it is obviously not the contractor at fault.

  3. Jay Clark says:

    The lights on the side of the courts are an accident waiting to happen also! Why wouldn’t you have someone build/design the courts that has any knowledge about them

  4. Lundy says:

    The latest in a fairly long line of sports facilities designs I’ve encountered that would suggest they were designed by someone with minimal knowledge of the sport.

  5. Mac says:

    Looking today at the asphalt “base” added for the pickleball courts at LBCC I guarantee you those will be junk soon too, just like the ones at Hackleman. Lowest bid is fine if you have the budget for repair and maintenance, and skilled workers. I assure you Albany doesn’t.

  6. George Pugh says:

    Living out of the school district, I don’t have a dog in this event. I don’t even have a dog but, is there enough use of a tennis court at night to warrant the cost of the lights?
    Just curious.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering