Game, Set, Match for Murphy Courts

Game, Set, Match for Murphy Courts

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MOBILE, Alabama -

The much lauded return of students and classes to Murphy High School’s midtown campus has produced one casualty – the popular tennis courts.

Last year’s Christmas day tornado trashed the historic school and forced students off campus for the spring semester. The tennis courts were unscathed, although the fencing and light polls were damaged.

As repairs and restoration took place, however, the tennis courts were used as a construction loading area. Large dumpsters were placed on the courts and heavy equipment routinely rumbled over them.

As school approached, a half-dozen portable classrooms were placed on the courts, with the structures anchored into the court surface.

“Well the reasoning behind that was basically accessibility for the children,” said Mobile County Public School System Facilities Manager Tommy Sheffield. “We want the children to be on a hard surface going to and from these modular units.”

Sheffield says the tennis courts are closer to the main campus and having the portables on them instead of grass eliminates tracking mud through the buildings. Repairs to Murphy got the students back but the campus is still in a major overall renovation for the next two years.

“The tennis courts would not be able to be utilized as a public tennis court because of the destruction of the campus, the fencing, and it being a construction zone for the next two years,” said Sheffield.

So Sheffield says even if the heavy equipment and portables had been kept off the court,  it was game, set, and match for the tennis playing public.

“We don’t want the public up there at night playing tennis,” said Sheffield. “Not that we’re running the public off, but it’s a safety thing.”

Murphy’s courts were popular among tennis players in Midtown where options are limited. Courts at Crawford and Seals Park are badly cracked and overgrown with weeds. There is a nice facility at Lyons Park, but players have to reserve a court time and pay to play.

Bailey Park, on Magnolia Road, may now offer the best quality public courts east of Interstate-65.

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