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Crew races clock for Water Days tennis

Working against the clock and a hot sun, fencing crew boss Brent Metcalf wenches a length of fence for a tight fit with Curt Alexander maintaining tension before posting at the rebuilt New London-Spicer High School tennis courts Tuesday morning in New London. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

NEW LONDON — These are not the days one would choose to work over black asphalt under a hot sun.

But the race is on as a crew from Anoka fences and paints the eight new courts at New London-Spicer High School.

“You drink eight bottles of Gatorade and there is still no need to find the restroom”, said fencing supervisor Brent Metcalf Tuesday morning, still looking cool with the temperature at a reasonable 80 degrees. By 1 p.m. reported it was 89 at New London; surely much hotter on the asphalt.

The Water Days Tennis Tournament is scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

The four workers have to fence around the eight courts, as well as cut and frame openings. There are also two four-foot fence down the middle dividing the singles courts from what are usually doubles courts on the west.

With a steel saw, the crew cut the 175 perimeter polls to exact height on Monday before laying out the fence in sections.

Metcalf said it’s physical but exacting. He pointed to the eight sets of net posts, each sunk in a two-foot by two-foot concrete pad, four feet deep.

From the post farthest east, line up the groove on which the net rope will sit and look west like a surveyor. One sees only the next post, 42 feet distant. Thus, the posts are perfectly in line.

Metcalf’s small crew is working for Upper Midwest Athletic Construction of Ramsey. The total project includes reconstructing the original seven courts from the sub-surface up, adding an eighth court plus a relocated shot put area and new a discus cage and netting to meet current safety specs.

NLS activities director John Vraa said the total project cost is $200,000, entirely paid by the school district.

Steps will also be built into the tennis berm and the tennis storage shed will be replaced.

Duininck Inc. was the contractor for re-grading and surfacing.

Metcalf didn’t plan to go to the wire on this project but rain days in June backed up an already packed schedule. A couple of addition “doors” in the fence that he said were not part of the original plan also slowed things up. 

“Our goal is to have all the fencing up by Thursday,” said Metcalf. “We might still be finishing up some things on Friday but we won’t be in the way.”

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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