Wally Smith Tennis Center Renovation Issue in Upcoming School Bond Election

Beverly Cantrell - October 7, 2021 6:26 am

Tennis Complex Renovations on Bond Issue-
Polls will be open on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, for Ponca City residents to vote on a proposed $49.7 million bond project. Every single school site in the Ponca City Public School district will see an improvement. This seven-year bond project will NOT be a tax increase for residents. It also includes an additional $10 million of CARES funds, which will allow improvements to the school district and aid in the mitigation and spread of COVID-19.
The proposed plan includes a number of repairs, renovations and new construction for the district. Currently, the bond has projects to renovate bathrooms, floors, HVAC units and paving in several areas across the district. In addition to those projects, the bond also includes work at the tennis courts, baseball stadium, softball stadium and several other areas. All projects can be viewed on the district’s website at www.pcps.us.
One project is the renovation of the Wally Smith Tennis Center located on Seventh Street. Right now, all middle and high school students must change in the city building constructed in the 1970s. The high school and middle school students practice on the nine courts owned and maintained by the City of Ponca City.
In order to host competitions, the district needs a space with 14 courts. Instead of building another complex across town, the City of Ponca City and PCPS will partner together and add five new courts to the already existing complex.
PCPS will replace the outdated facility with a new space with dressing rooms for students, an added public bathroom at the facility and provide an overlook for coaches to oversee the entire complex.
The City of Ponca City will relocate the existing splash pad to a new location in the park.
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Key points of the tennis complex renovation include:
• Adds five tennis courts
• Creates new bathrooms, changing rooms and coaching overlook
• Eliminates the need to create an entirely new 14 court complex
• Keeps our high school students on campus and not driving
Adam Leaming, Executive Director of Operations Intern, said, “There may be a sentiment that we are focusing on athletics or favoring the high school with projects. I think it’s important to note that in the past 20 years, we have remodeled each of our elementary schools. In this bond cycle, Liberty, Lincoln and Union will all see considerable work.”
“This bond election doesn’t just benefit a small segment of Ponca City Public Schools,” said Leaming. “This is an overall net positive for the entire community of Ponca City.”
The tennis complex was named after Wally Smith, who taught all sports at Ponca City East Junior High School from 1950 to 1969 and then at Ponca City High School until 1984. He compiled an envious coaching record, producing many singles, doubles and team champions.
He was named Coach of the Year 13 times and National High School Tennis Coach of the Year in 1976. He coached 15 active big club teaching pros.
“Coach Smith was not only an integral figure with Ponca City school’s tennis program but grew to be a nationally recognized tennis coach. With our growing numbers of students participating in the tennis program, it’s fitting we honor not only a great legacy in Wally Smith but build a facility that encourages and promotes this lifetime sport in our district and community,” said Leaming.
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