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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Public Schools to convert high school tennis courts into pickleball courts

Laura Harrison eyes a return while playing pickleball at Cherry Hill Park in Coeur d’Alene on June 27.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

Fans of Washington’s official sport, rejoice: More pickleball courts are coming your way this summer.

Spokane Public Schools is converting several of its high schools’ tennis courts into pickleball courts, available to students, staff and the community. Courts would remain available for tennis as well.

Because of the sport’s scaled-down proportions, one tennis court can flex to two pickleball courts. The district’s plan is to convert one tennis court each at Rogers, Shadle Park and North Central high schools, and two courts at Ferris and Lewis and Clark high schools, which would add 14 pickleball courts in all to Spokane.

While the plan is in its preliminary stages and details on reservations and a timeline are still to come, spokesperson Ryan Lancaster said the district plans to lay tape or paint lines as soon the weather allows, likely this spring or summer.

Spokane has been asking for more “accessible, outdoors and in-neighborhood” locations to play pickleball, made Washington’s official state sport in 2022 and increasing in popularity around the city.

“I noticed a real pickup about the time pickleball became our state sport,” said Le’Andra Meyers, coordinator for fitness, athletics and after school programs at the district. “I don’t know if that’s the entire cause; it being a low-impact sport you can do indoors and outdoors is also a draw in Spokane.”

The pickleball craze is inching its way into schools. Ferris High School and Woodridge and Ridgeview elementary schools offer pickleball clubs. This spring, the unified sports program, in which general education and special education students play together, will wield pickleball rackets. Some health and fitness teachers opt to include the sport in their curriculum.

“Both our students and our adults – our staff members – are very interested in pickleball right now,” Meyers said.

The cost to retrofit existing tennis courts is minimal, Lancaster said in an email, with the district paying for tape or paint to draw lines on the courts and equipment. Funding for the courts won’t come from the bond on ballots this February, sources of this funding has previously been determined, if passed.