PHS opens new tennis courts

Paragould High School opened its new five-court tennis court complex on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting. From left are tennis team members Issac Cook, Nelson McHaney, and Camden Gramling (all juniors); head coach Jacob Giles; juniors Keely Pyland and Kaylee Willcockson; sophomore Garrett Brown – and, of course, Rowdy Ram.

Paragould High School’s new tennis courts are officially open for business.

The Paragould School District hosted a ribbon-cutting for the five-court facility on Wednesday.

High School Media Director Danielle Honeycutt said the courts had been built at a cost of about $500,000. Construction began in August, she said, and finished the week of Nov. 5.

High School Athletic Director Mike Chipman noted the old facility had included only four tennis courts, but that the new one featured a fifth. “That’s going to allow us to host the state tournament,” he said, “and in regulation with the AAA [Arkansas Activities Association].”

Chipman said the school had also upgraded the exterior of the court complex to make it handicapped-accessible. “And we’re going to add some bleachers,” he said. “They’re on their way, for our fans and spectators.”

Chipman also said that in keeping with past policy, the tennis courts would be open to the public as well as the school. “We have a rich history here at Paragould of working well with the community,” he said, “and we want to continue to build that relationship, and make the courts accessible to everyone in Paragould.”

“This is a dream come true,” said Jared Pickney, Paragould High School graduate and pastor of The Crossing. Pickney delivered the invocation.

In remarks after the ribbon-cutting, tennis head coach Jacob Giles said his assistant, Phillip Robinson, had been instrumental in the team’s success in the current season. “He gave up a lot of time ... to be here,” he said, “and helped them to prepare when I couldn’t be here.”

Giles added that without the efforts of Robinson, the tennis team would not be nearly as successful as it is. “He’s a tremendous asset,” Giles concluded.

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