Whitefish Bay — The fundraising effort to re-do the tennis courts behind Richards Elementary School has been made easier with a reduced price tag and an additional $60,000 from the Whitefish Bay School Board.
In February, the Whitefish Bay School Board agreed to contribute $30,000 to restore the cracked and aged tennis courts behind the elementary school, as long as a fundraising committee could come up with the remaining $226,000. At the time, the School Board had discussed the possibility of providing an additional $61,444 — adding up to a total of $91,444 — to cover the cost of removing concrete and reconstructing a retaining wall.
The additional funding helps even out the district's contribution to the tennis court project completed at Cumberland Elementary School last year. The district contributed $30,000 to that project, which did not require the removal of multiple layers of concrete or the reconstruction of a retaining wall.
Meanwhile, the school district has also sought lower bids to make the project more feasible. The reduced project bid of $181,494 covers the cost of two tennis courts, three half-court basketball courts and a multi-purpose recreation area for foursquare, hopscotch and other games.
The original, more expensive bid of $256,000 would have constructed three tennis courts instead of two. By eliminating the third court, the new format would meet safety guidelines that recommend 12 feet of space between tennis courts.
The lower project bid, combined with the additional school district funding, means the project is less than $20,000 away from becoming a reality.
Leah Schneider, who is leading the fundraising effort along with Carol Fairborn, said they have raised roughly $70,500 so far, including $30,000 from Richards' parent-teacher organization and $10,000 from the village of Whitefish Bay.
The fundraising committee plans to raise the remaining $20,000 by spring, at which point the district would allocate its contribution to the project. Construction is expected to occur during summer 2015.
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