UPDATE: Where are the tennis courts?Friday, May 01, 2009 By Jace Evans
No tennis balls can be found in the deep ravine to the left of the building. For this tennis season, and maybe longer, the tennis courts remain off-limits because of structural damage. "At this time, we will not have them for this year, but our hope is that they will be completed for next year," said girls tennis coach Kathy Becker. According to boys tennis coach Mr. Mark Sunkel the courts are out of commission because the retaining wall that they are built on is crumbling and the courts themselves are cracking and sinking. This is all due to the drainage not being installed so the ground is washing away. Mr. Roger Fritz, Senior Project Manger for FCPS explained that the problem started with the following factors: the size of the property, the difference in height of the property, and the existence of two wetland areas on the site. Fritz explained, "The tennis courts were constructed with retaining walls on three sides. During construction, inspection staff noticed depressions in the base course of paving... An investigation by the geotechnical engineer and a third party engineering firm ...indicated the ground water under the surface of the courts made more severe by surface drainage from adjacent retaining walls was the most likely cause. Monitoring wells were installed...below the tennis courts to monitor ground water. These wells identified a significant amount of ground water below the surface." "We were limited on the number of players on the team," Mr. Sunkel. The Linganore at Oakdale facilities should include six courts. New Market Middle has four courts and Oakdale Middle has three. The teams are rotating so that each team has equal opportunity. "The project engineers and contractors...have decided the solution is to excavate the soft wet soil from below the tennis courts, install a drain pipe system with gravel to drain the ground water away and to install new paving ...the work is scheduled to take place this summer," said Fritz.