As we reported towards the end of August, Kellogg Community College (KCC) in Battle Creek, Michigan, was inviting contributions to upgrade eight courts and add four more to its campus on North Avenue.
Well, we have an update! Work is well on the way to completion, and in fact, the opening ceremony for the court complex was held on Wednesday!
Brand New And Upgraded Courts
Backed by support and counsel from over 100 community members and organizations, KCC is presently in the process of expanding its pickleball complex, set to encompass 12 courts for both casual and competitive play.
The venture, expected to be finished in the approaching weeks, involves upgrading eight existing courts and adding four new ones, opening up fresh opportunities for future use, including hosting tournaments.
Eric Greene, Vice President for Communications and Advancement at KCC, explained to Greyson Steele of the Battle Creek Enquirer: “We’ve actually had some unexpected delays, a lot of it due to rain this fall.
“We’ve also had some shipping delays; we even had the windscreens show up at the wrong length, [and] we had to take them all to Charlotte one day to have them hemmed. It’s just been some interesting things that we didn’t see coming.”
Greenlit The Project
The KCC Board of Trustees greenlit the pickleball expansion project earlier this year. Collaborating with Battle Creek-based Schweitzer Inc., KCC has meticulously devised plans, aligning with USA Pickleball specifications, to ensure that all 12 courts can facilitate organized tournaments.
Following completion, these courts will be accessible on a first-come, first-served basis, except during reservations for college-related activities and tournaments.
Embracing The Opportunity
“Even though we don’t have a pickleball club or a team, as of yet, at KCC, we do recognize this sport has grown across the country and even locally, and quite frankly, we find it only a matter of time before some of those things happen,” remarked KCC President Paul Watson II at Wednesday’s ceremony.
“We embrace the opportunity for these courts behind me to really become a valuable community resource, and we look forward to the fact that it’s open to people of all ages and abilities and available to the public on a daily basis.”
Escalating Community Interest
This endeavor coincides with the escalating community interest in pickleball. A community fundraising program initiated by KCC in August has raised close to $50,000 in support of this expansion.
Linda Freybler, CEO of the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, commented, “When pickleball players travel, they bring their paddles, and they look to play, but more importantly, they’re looking for the camaraderie from the players that they meet on the court, and both of our clubs here are so welcoming,”
She further reflected, “It’s more than the sheer thrill of the game; it triggers something bigger and happier and healthier and kinder in people’s lives and our community.”
Preeminent Outdoor Pickleball Destination
Once finalized, this facility will stand as the preeminent outdoor pickleball destination in greater Battle Creek. With the capacity to host tournaments, many anticipate it could also serve as an economic catalyst.
Donnie Speck, leader of the Cereal City Pickleball Club, couldn’t help but observe the abundance of smiles during Wednesday’s ceremony:
“There’s an undeniable charm to the term ‘pickleball. It embodies enthusiasm, enjoyment, health, and community. I extend my gratitude to everyone who has played a part in this.”
Those interested in donating to the project may do so online at kellogg.edu.
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