At its Monday meeting, the joint committee of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and Loudoun County School Board discussed the possible resurfacing of public school tennis courts to accommodate pickleball.
Loudoun County Public Schools and the County Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department began discussing the idea at the suggestion of Supervisor Juli Briskmann (D-Algonkian), who noticed a recent increase in the popularity of pickleball in its home district.
Pickleball is a paddle-based sport that is very similar to tennis, although it uses a wiffleball-like ball with a hole and uses less than half of the tennis court space, according to the LCPS deputy superintendent for support services, Kevin Lewis.
PRCS Director Steve Torpy said whenever his department recently resurfaced a tennis court – such as in Franklin Park in Purcellville – they added lines for pickleball, often resulting in “heavy use” by the court. community.
“We have very dedicated pickleball players [in Loudoun County]”said Torpy.
“Basically if you build it they’ll come and play pickleball,” said supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg), who co-chairs the joint committee with school board chairperson Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District).
Lewis described the logistical implications of integrating pickleball into LCPS tennis courts, which are currently available for public use outside of school hours and unless reserved by PCRS or other community organizations.
Approved organizations are currently able to reserve tennis courts for $ 15 an hour per court for a minimum of two hours, Lewis said.
Neither the county nor the LCPS are currently aware of any pickleball teams or leagues organized in the county, although the PCRS hosts adult pickleball tournaments, according to its Facebook page.
While laying out new marks for pickleball would not conflict with VHSL guidelines as long as the new marks use alternate colors, the height of the net would present a potential issue as regulatory pickleball nets are several inches shorter. than tennis nets.
Existing nets on LCPS courts are not adjustable for pickleball height, according to Lewis, so pickleball markings should either occupy a separate half of each tennis court and use a portable net, or simply stand by. content with a tennis net.
School board member Jeff Morse (Dulles District) preferred the convenience of the latter, saying a net higher than the regulations would be of minimum concern for casual players.
“Obviously we don’t run the pro tour for pickleball yet, so I like Mr. Lewis’s idea of just allowing them to use the tennis nets with the extra pickleball stripes,” he said. declared.
Responding to a question from Sheridan, Torpy said the cost of resurfacing the tennis court would likely fall on the LCPS, as the changes would take place on school property.
Sheridan said she “would need more information” before agreeing to the addition of pickleball bands, including how long the process would take.
Since Briskmann started the discussion but was absent for Monday’s meeting, Umstattd requested that the committee reconsider the matter at a later date.