École Stanley Knowles School is now a top spot to shoot some hoops.
The Tyndall Park school (2424 King Edward St.) celebrated the opening of its new outdoor basketball court on Fri., May 23. The $146,000 court was funded by the city, the province and the Winnipeg School Division (WSD).
The court will be available to Stanley Knowles students, as well as the broader community.
"You don’t have to go to Stanley Knowles for very long to sense what a crucial part of the culture here is basketball and what a popular sport it is," said Stanley Knowles teacher Paul Peel, coach of the Grade 8 boys team.
"With the size of our school, we just don’t have enough room with our indoor facilities and the outdoor facility had been built in the ‘80s and had fallen apart completely. It just made sense for us as a school and a community to look into getting a new court built."
Peel said his vision for a new court was made possible by Heather Grant-Jury, president of Stanley Knowles’ parent advisory committee, who was able to secure the funding required.
The new court measures 84 feet by 50 feet, which is regulation high school size. It also includes lighting, fencing and bleachers, and state-of-the–art hoop poles and fibreglass backboards.
"We wanted adjustable hoops so we can adjust the size," Peel said. "We’re a K to 8 school so we want to be able to run intramurals and outdoor phys-ed with the basket at the recommended height for their age level. That’s one thing that’s unique about our court compared to other outdoor courts in the city. We think it will help the development of our younger players."
Stanley Knowles principal Darryl Stevenson said the new court should make Stanley Knowles already successful basketball teams that much better.
"It’s just a tremendous opportunity to have our kids engaged in the summer, spring and fall," Stevenson said. "Stanley Knowles and the community absolutely loves basketball. We’ve had multiple championship teams that have gone on from Stanley Knowles to Sisler and kids have went on to play in university, both in the boys and girls level."
Kevin Chief, Minister Responsible for Relations with the City of Winnipeg, as well as Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities, was present at the opening and has a long history with the game. Before captaining the University of Winnipeg Wesmen basketball team, Chief spent his childhood years playing on the outdoor court at Isaac Newton School.
"What’s going to happen to the kids who use it for years to come is they’re going to point to it and say ‘That’s where I played ball’," Chief said. "It builds that pride in your neighborhood and that pride in who you are."