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Niceville school to build new tennis courts

Student athletes in Niceville will play tennis next year at a brand-new, $200,000 complex behind Ruckel Middle School.

Channel Three's Laura Hussey tells us why tight school budgets didn't stop the courts from being built.

To be a great tennis player, you need some fancy footwork, that's what these Niceville students are working on. It's also nice to have your own court to practice on. Soon, they'll have that as well.  
   
Conditioning workouts like this are the only training these players can do on campus.
To get court time, they travel to Bluewater Bay Tennis Center.

Anna Maria Vaccaro/junior "So we've been having to move around, and when courts are available, how many people can play, so it's been a little bit of a challenge."
   
This is where Anna Maria Vaccaro will be playing next year. The Eagle Ram Tennis Center will be built behind Ruckel Middle School. It's the product of a two-and-a-half year fundraising campaign by a group of parents who knew the school district couldn't fund the project.   

Shelly Scholl "Once you get a block of money in your account, people start getting behind you, and they start realizing that it's not a joke, it's really going to happen."
   
The committee sold eight court sponsorships for ten thousand dollars each.
They sold bricks for up to a thousand dollars.
On the way to the 220-thousand dollar total, senior, Behrens Watkins, donated his summer job money, and his parents matched it.

Behrens "It's great because I want new people to learn how to play it, it's a neat sport, I don't see wy they shouldn't be able to play too."
   
The county champion ruckel team will share the courts with Niceville High School, and with anyone in the community who wants to use them.

Anna Maria "You want to get involved in it. It's not just 'oh, someone else will take care of it'. Well this is for you, so you have to contribute, help out."

The groundbreaking for the new tennis complex is Thursday, and the fundraising continues. They're still trying to raise money for lighting on the courts. In Niceville, Laura Hussey, Channel 3 News.