Belgrade High School has never had a tennis team but that all changed today with the strike of four shovels.
"The ground has been broken!"
That was exclaimed as four golden shovels were driven into the ground Monday afternoon, marking where five new tennis courts will be built for the school this year.
"I think it happened about a year and a half ago when Dorothy Filson came," said Belgrade Activities Director Rick Phillips. "There were a lot of concerned citizens that were really worried about the disrepair of our tennis courts we had out here."
"The old city courts were so far gone," said Dorothy, who is coordinating the tennis court construction project. "I was in touch with Marcia Anderson, who is a major philanthropist in the valley and she's a big proponent of healthy activities for kids."
Marcia Anderson, who owns a large ranch in the valley, showed just how much she cared by funding the construction and the cost of a Belgrade team for two years.
"She didn't hesitate whatsoever to offer to fund the construction of the courts," said Dorothy. "As well as a high school team for two years and the maintenance of the courts for two years. That's gonna allow us to start up a high school team here."
Every tennis match starts at love-all, but the Belgrade students have already fallen in love with the idea of their first school team.
"We had twenty names on a list on a pad of paper in a heartbeat and I had nothing to do with it," Phillips said. "They just heard we might be having tennis and they went, 'oh, who wants to play tennis?' So they went out asking everybody."
Phillips says that he has contacted the Montana High School Association and that he hopes the tennis team will begin playing in the spring of 2015.
"We're really excited about having another opportunity in the spring other than just track and field and softball," said Phillips. "It is a boys and girls sport, so it's an opportunity for both genders to get out here and enjoy another way to be active."
The courts are located across the street from Edward S. Medina field in Belgrade, offering one of the best backdrops in the state.
"When I first came and saw this background, I was amazed," said Dorothy. "It will be a very unique tennis setting for the valley."
Construction is slated to begin this week with hopes of being completed in the fall. Once complete, the courts will be open for public use alongside being used by the Belgrade tennis team.