By Andy McKeever
03:15PM / Monday, June 18, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College capped off the revitalization of its athletic facilities on Monday morning when the tennis courts were dedicated to former President Paul Raverta.
Raverta found the courts in deplorable condition when he first came to BCC in 2005. So many weeds were growing in the cracked surface that he joked on Monday about having staff mow the courts like the rest of the playing fields.
For the last four years, Raverta has been trying to secure grant money to revamp them and his efforts finally came to fruition.
“We played tennis here over 30 years ago and for some time the courts were in disrepair, grass growing on it and cracks, it was horrible for us,” said William Ballard, vice president of the U.S. Tennis Association’s New England branch who helped fund the project. “What you see before you is all about commitment.”
Ballard remembered when Raverta first came to him about funding the project but it took a long time to put the pieces together. However, the process has led to the creation of the first U10 courts (players under age 10) in Western Massachusetts, he said.
The courts were the latest renovations; others include the inside of the school’s Paterson Field House, opening of the pool and a new turf playing field.
“Our goal was to re-do the whole south side. Here, six to seven years later, and we’ve completed it,” Jeff Doscher, BCC Foundation executive director, said. “It was a total cooperative effort.”
Raverta said the complex helps the school become even more of a community resource. The public will be able to play on the courts (there are a limited number of available courts in the city) and children will be able to learn to play on the U10 courts.
“When I arrived I saw immediately that he vision of the college was community,” Raverta said. “I am just so pleased and humbled today.”
The courts were named after him and state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, and the county’s House of Representatives delegation read special citations from their legislative bodies.
While Raverta said he was “humbled” by the honor, many in the BCC community said the courts would never have been revitalized without him.
“The tennis courts were his vision,” Susan Lombard, chairwoman of the school’s Board of Trustees, said.
Lombard said the completion of the courts is just one example of the school’s future growth.
The dedication ceremony also featured guest speakers Ellen Kennedy, the school’s new president, Mayor Daniel Bianchi and Ward 6 Councilor John Krol.