When the bell rings once again at this September, students will be welcomed back by two new regulation-size middle school basketball courts. These courts, the result of more than two years of fundraising and planning, will provide Berkshire students with more outdoor play area during noon recreation time and gym classes.
The planning for the courts began in the fall of 2008 when members of Berkshire's Proud Dads’ Club agreed they wanted to get behind a project they could “really sink their teeth into.” Berkshire Principal Jim Moll suggested the group raise funds to repair the existing court and even build new ones.
“The existing court is really dilapidated,” said Moll, who is retiring at the end of the month. “We can’t get the kids outside as much as we’d like because weather often makes the fields too muddy.”
New courts will allow students to go outdoors even when snow or wet weather renders the fields unusable.
“The Dads’ Club members dedicated themselves these past two years to raising funds to make these courts possible,” Moll said.
Those fundraisers have included selling tickets to Detroit Tigers games, hosting pasta dinners, selling popcorn at the Beverly Hills Memorial Day Carnival, organizing an annual 5K run and selling commemorative bricks that will line a pathway to the new courts. chipped in by donating 20 percent of proceeds from coupons redeemed at the restaurant by Berkshire families on a dedicated day.
“In all, we raised approximately $12,000,” said Ralph Picano, a Proud Dads’ Club member and parent of an eighth-grade Berkshire student. “We realized we were going to come up a little short and were hoping the asphalt company would give us a break. At the eleventh hour, the school district stepped in and agreed to donate the cost of the asphalt needed to pave the courts.”
The Dads’ Club will use the funds it raised, around $17,500, to purchase and install the basketball hoops, benches and supplies needed for the brick walkway. It will also use its funds to stripe the new courts and restripe the existing court, which will be patched and resealed during the paving process.
The new courts will be built on an area previously occupied by a portable classroom, which means that their installation takes no additional space from the existing field.
The Proud Dads' Club will officially break ground on the new courts at its from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at the school. The barbecue will also double as a farewell celebration for Moll. Anyone is invited to attend.
Moll said everyone at Berkshire is excited to see the courts evolve from idea to reality.
"We’re thrilled that construction will begin as soon as next week.”