Fort Hays students begin work on new basketball courts

HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) — It used to be the old Hays High School tennis courts. The courts haven’t been used in over 20 years, but a student organization from Fort Hays State University is currently working to convert it into a basketball court for the community.

KeShawn Sewell is president of the university’s Tiger Pals organization, which assists individuals with special needs and disabilities in the Hays community.

He said one of the members saw the empty court and thought a basketball court would be a great addition.

“Hays doesn’t really have a lot of options of outdoor courts. As a college student, that’s something I love to do, that’s something my friends love to do is get outside and play basketball,” said Sewell.

Tiger Pals met with Hays public schools superintendent John Thissen about the idea, since the district owns the land, but they didn’t have to do much convincing.

“I was excited from the beginning,” said Thissen. “I thought it sounded like a fantastic project.”

Sewell said much of the funding for the $10,000 project has come from local businesses. Midwest Energy donated money to install lights. The Hays Recreation Commission helped fund the paint on the court. Commerce Bank made donations for the backboards.

The location is ideal — right across the street from the Reed Development Center, that provides services to people with disabilities.

“Some of our classes or some of our things that we have going on during the day might be able to go across the street and utilize those courts, so we’re excited,” said Steve Kyle, director of development for Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas.

The organization hopes to have two basketball hoops finished by the winter time. Depending on funding, the last two should be done sometime in the spring.

Sewell said this project wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community. Tiger Pals has created a GoFundMe page where people or local businesses can make a donation.