Construction is currently underway on the new Denver Tennis Park (DTP), a 13-court facility on a Denver Public Schools (DPS) owned four-acre triangle of land on South Franklin Street between South …
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Construction is currently underway on the new Denver Tennis Park (DTP), a 13-court facility on a Denver Public Schools (DPS) owned four-acre triangle of land on South Franklin Street between South High School, I-25 and the All City Stadium complex. Even as the equipment is digging away, however, some are wondering if those immediately adjacent to the school, DPS (South High) and DU students, will have regular, reliable access.
In the time since the The Profile first reported on this story in June, staff have received comment from upset community members and parents who felt it remains unclear when exactly students will be able to use the facility.
A view to the south and west in September from All City Stadium as removal of the stadium's west parking lot begins. Construction is well underway at this time, but questions remain about the future Denver Tennis Park's allocation of hours to DU and South High/DPS students. Photo by Haines Eason.
A Sept. 13 community meeting perhaps meant to quell these concerns and provide additional information was attended by about 50 local residents, school stakeholders, teachers, school administration, DPS Chief Operating Officer David Suppes and DTP Director Julie Bock.
In addition to questions about specific tennis court usage schedules, other issues of concern included the impact construction is currently having on emergency services’ access to All City Stadium. At present, the west parking lot has been removed, significant earthwork is underway and Profile sources reported concern that emergency vehicles may not be able to park directly by the stadium or on the field.
At the meeting, It was insisted by both Bock and Suppes that pedestrian, fire, police and student access are being maintained. Additionally, the current schedule of construction was outlined. At present the project is in Phase 2, where work will focus on the pumphouse field with the purpose of adding a slope to encourage runoff. Phase 3, storm water diversion work in the vicinity of the baseball field taking three to four weeks, will commence after the baseball and softball seasons end. Phase 4, construction of the facility itself, should begin in December and continue through March. The project is slated to be completed between August and September 2018.
As for funding, some of the same community members who approached Profile staff asked if it is true DPS is allocating $2 million from the 2012 Bond—monies originally marked for All City Stadium drainage work—to drainage work on this project. Suppes confirmed at the meeting that $2 million of 2012 bond monies was allocated to this project.
(For more on DPS bonds in general, visit bond.dpsk12.org. For more on the 2012 bond, visit bond.dpsk12.org/bond-quick-facts.)
The University of Denver and DPS together are contributing $4.2 million of the $14.2 million project cost, and each will receive 10,000 hours of the facility’s court time. Each will also pay an amount proportional to their court usage for operational costs. At this time, Suppes estimates DU and DPS will each pay about $50-60,000 annually.
The 10,000 hours (20,000 total) allocated to DU and DPS students equates to 20 percent of the total facility hours. According to Bock, the facility will be open 7:00a.m.-11:00p.m., 364 days a year, meaning there are about 100,000 court hours available. However, when exactly in any given day DPS and DU students’ use of those hours will fall is still under negotiation.
At the meeting, questions arose about the value of the DPS land made available for this project as well as lease terms. The Profile has been unable to locate an exact value for the land as the parcel has previously been viewed as marginal in quality. Suppes also said DPS has never had any intention of selling the land in the first place. He also shared that lease terms are a 50-year ground lease with a 20-year option to renew.
Questions also arose about potential impact to Veterans Park, which Bock says will not be affected by the project. South High parents present also asked that handicapped access and parking be more clearly labeled.
The Profile will continue to cover this story as it develops.
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