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City Council authorizes transfer of 4.61 acres at Highland Park for school district’s tennis facility project

Highland Park tennis courts. (Screenshot via Google Street View)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper City Council voted 8–0 on Tuesday in favor of authorizing the transfer of 4.61 acres of land at Highland Park to the Natrona County School District.

The transfer will allow the school district’s ~$3.5 million project to create a 10-court tennis facility to proceed. Part of the agreement between the city and school district tasks the city with resurfacing two of the four existing courts at Highland Park for pickleball.

The city estimates resurfacing those two courts could cost as much as $200,000. If the cost winds up being greater, City Manager Carter Napier told the City Council he recommends the city take back ownership of that piece of the property, should the school district agree, and convert the existing courts to turf.

If the city does resurface the two courts for pickleball, however, the school district would be responsible for maintenance of those courts, Napier said. If the resurfacing doesn’t happen, he said converting the courts to turf would help ensure neither the city nor the school district would need to maintain those as courts.

NCSD has contracted Cheyenne-based Sampson Construction for a maximum price of $3.5 million to add six courts and conduct other work for the proposed 10-court tennis complex.

With the final design of the facility nearing completion, the City Council was asked to approve the deed transfer for the 4.61 acres where the four tennis courts, a park shelter and a parking lot are located. The layout for the tennis facility saw some adjustments from what the school district initially proposed to the city. Some of the proposed tennis courts will be built on land the school district already owns near Casper Classical Academy Middle School, reducing the amount of land the city will transfer to the district from the 6.9 acres agreed to in December 2021 to 4.61 acres, according to the staff memo.

The 10-court tennis facility at Highland Park will serve as a practice and competition space for both the Natrona County and Kelly Walsh High School tennis teams. In addition to six new courts, the project will add a spectator viewing area as well as a building to house restrooms, a changing room, storage and a concession area.

The new tennis facility would give the high school teams courts to play on that are in better condition than where they currently practice and compete, according to the district.

“The conditions of the current courts at Washington Park and Casper Country Club are not ideal,” NCSD previously said of the need for the Highland Park project. “Both sets of courts have extensive cracking and some settling, calling for the need for repair of cracks and replacement of the playing surface.”

The Natrona County High School tennis team currently uses four city-owned courts for both practice and competition at Washington Park. Kelly Walsh High School uses five courts at the Casper Country Club for practice and competition. The school district rents the Casper Country Club courts for about $2,500 annually, according to NCSD.

There are an average of 56 girls and 36 boys who participate in tennis programs at NCHS and KWHS on an annual basis, according to the district.

The new facility would make it possible for Casper to host regional and, assuming repairs to other facilities across the city are made, state tournaments. The facility would also support physical education class opportunities, according to NCSD.

The city staff memo and proposed warranty deed transfer can be viewed below: