Groundbreaking held for new BE tennis center
Bishop England High School’s Monsignor John L. Manning Tennis Center is a step closer to reality after the school recently held the official ground-breaking ceremony.
The facility, which will include five courts and lights, will be home to the Bishops’ tennis teams. It will be located adjacent to Father Kelly Field, the school’s baseball complex. The girls’ program has 19 state titles in its history while the boys’ program has 11. It will also be used by the school’s physical education classes and alumni and friends of the school will also have access.
Adding tennis courts will be one of the last major expansions at the campus. The school moved from its Calhoun Street campus in downtown Charleston to Daniel Island in time for the 1998 academic year and since then, the BE tennis teams have held court at the Family Circle Tennis Center, the Daniel Island Country Club, Snee Farm Country Club, LTP, Creekside, the Mount Pleasant Tennis Complex on Whipple Road, and the Farmfield tennis facility in West Ashley.
“It was just so hard to find a place to play and to practice because Charleston is one of the top tennis cities in the country,” Bishop England athletic director Paul Runey said. “We would have to be able to block off six or seven courts a day for two to three hours at a time. That’s getting tougher and tougher to do. You also had the time element. You can’t get the kids to the courts until about 4 or 4:30 and you are competing against tennis leagues for time and availability.”
Runey said the school’s $400,000 fundraising project is well underway. To date, $217,000 has been raised and the naming rights for all five courts. That form of sponsorship cost $35,000.
But the school must raise 100 percent of the funds to finish the project. “We’ll go forward with this phase of construction,” Runey said. “But there’s a chance we will have to place it on hold until we receive all the money.”
Kristen Fleming Arnold, who coaches both the boys’ and girls’ teams, said there is no place like home.
“It means everything to the program,” she said of the courts and facility. “It will help with the logistics of the program.”
There are many ways to contribute, including a sponsorship package that begins at $500.