Since Quince Orchard High School opened in September 1988, eight tennis courts have been among the first sights visitors to the school take in upon entering the parking lot.
That space has been reduced to a construction zone since the end of May, but by mid-August the final touches should be placed on eight brand new, state-of-the-art US Open Blue tennis courts—complete with new nets and net posts, fencing and gates.
“They’re going to be topshelf,” third-year Cougars Athletic Director Jeff Rabberman said. “(The tennis courts) are such a big part of our campus when you come in, it’s going to make a huge difference.”
The upgrade is part of an athletic department overhaul spearheaded by Rabberman, that began with the conversion of Quince Orchard’s fields to Bermuda grass last summer and also includes a new and improved—and much bigger—weight room.
In addition to ensuring all students are training and competing on high-quality surfaces and in the safest environment, Rabberman said the goal of the revitalization is to match the state of Quince Orchard’s facilities with the beaming pride the community has historically had for the Cougars’ sports programs.
“I think the way things look even matters to the kids—psychologically, when you’re practicing on Bermuda grass that’s been taken care of and watered, it makes a difference in the way you practice and the way you play,” Rabberman said. “We really want to advance our facilities to where they need to be and show our students, and our athletes, that they have our support, and we’re putting them in a position to perform at their best.”
While the tennis court renovations were funded by Montgomery County Public Schools’ Capital Improvements Program—and will benefit Quince Orchard’s entire tennis-rich community—other equipment purchases and restorations were backed by the Quince Orchard All-School Booster Club, the PTA and the athletic department.
GameDay Turf Management has continued to work on the fields this summer, re-sodding, re-grading and re-sprigging, and Rabberman said he believes students will be pleasantly surprised by improvements even in just the last year, when they arrive for tryouts in mid-August. The lips and dirt on the baseball and softball fields are scheduled to be redone this fall.
Rabberman said the new weight room is expected to be ready by the fall and will not only benefit athletes, but physical education classes as well. Aside from nearly doubling in size, which will naturally allow for more air flow—and accommodate the enrollment in weight training classes of an additional 50 students per semester—upgraded equipment will include a functional trainer, TRX® bands, medicine balls, new box jumps and much more.
There are “a ton” of kids in physical education classes who don’t play a sport but are interested in fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, Rabberman said. With this new facility, the hope is to encourage more students to pursue lifelong fitness. Updates to the weight room follow the more recent movement in strength training to more functional work, which primarily focuses on exercises using bodyweight and resistance.
“It’s not always about how much weight you can lift,” Rabberman said. “With the functional trainer and the TRX bands, there are a million different things you can do. … I’m really excited for the kids to see (the new room). When you walk in, it’s like a complete 180 from the old weight room.”
This year’s upgrades, which also include a new scoreboard and sound system in the gym, are only the second phase of Rabberman’s vision. By the end of the next phase, which he said he hopes to round out within the next year or so, Quince Orchard’s athletic facilities “will be as good as they can possibly be.”
“Our community takes a lot of pride in our school and our athletic program,” Rabberman said. “Now, when I look out on the grounds, I see our fields getting to a level where we can put them up against anyone, anywhere (in the county).”