NORTHBOROUGH – After breaking ground on the Algonquin Regional High School “Gonkplex” earlier this year, high school students celebrated the opening of the tennis and pickleball courts on Oct. 1 with a pickleball tournament.
“I like seeing everyone here,” said organizer Renee Gauthier. “We were kind of worried at first that not a lot of teams would sign up, but we got a good amount of people coming. It’s nice to see everybody out and about and passionate about something that we’re doing.”
Gauthier was one of the senior class leaders who organized the tournament along with Cass Melo, Riya Mahanta, Cole Gowdy and Cam Arcona.
According to Gauthier, Principal Sean Bevan had approached two of her friends and asked if they would be interested in starting a pickleball tournament.
The students jumped at the opportunity and got busy planning the tournament. After rain postponed their original date for the tournament, it was held on Oct. 1.
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“It’s a gorgeous day outside. We’re really excited,” Gauthier said.
The winners of the tournament received gift cards to Pickle Haus Deli.
It’s great to see the courts open, she said, noting that the old courts had cracks and were overgrown.
“It’s fun because have more things to do than just tennis courts like there’s a basketball court there. It’s more inclusion. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport right now,” she said. “It’s exciting.”
Bevan said the students and families have been patient waiting for the opening, “but I think their enthusiasm and ours are shared.”
“This is just evidence of that kind of enthusiasm. We’re really excited about it,” he said.
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According to Superintendent Greg Martineau, there’s been a slight delay for the basketball court, which is located near the tennis and pickleball courts. The district decided to have a phased in approach when it comes to access to the facility, he said.
The Gonkplex project was approved by Northborough and Southborough Town Meetings this spring. In addition to the new tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, the project will include artificial turf stadium and multipurpose fields, a new track and amphitheater and Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant grand stand.
Moving forward, the next phase of the Gonkplex will be the turf multipurpose field followed by the stadium field at the end of October.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our community,” Martineau said.
He recalled driving by the courts and seeing community members playing pickleball and tennis.
“This is a community asset, and also it greatly benefits our students. We’re very excited. We’ll be even more thrilled once the project is wrapped up and completely accessible to all of the community,” Martineau said.
For updates on the project, visit https://gonkplex.org/.