Groundbreaking Wednesday for $4.2 Million Pickleball and Tennis Court at Haverhill High School

Ernie DiBurro was honored during a ceremony with Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini in 2017 for his gift of a new Haverhill Stadium clubhouse. (WHAV News file photograph.)

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The public is invited to a ceremony tomorrow afternoon with school and city leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $4.2 million indoor tennis and pickleball court on the Haverhill High School campus.

As WHAV previously reported, the building is being paid for with a $1 million donation from longtime Hillie philanthropist and Haverhill athletics booster Ernie DiBurro and $3.2 million in city funds. It will be built near the Monument Street entrance, next to the Charles C. White Pool and across from the Anthony B. Sapienza Memorial running track.

“The addition of an indoor racket sports center at our flagship high school campus will be a wonderful resource for our students as well as city residents for decades to come,” said Mayor James J. Fiorentini, who thanked DiBurro for his latest donation.

DiBurro, a member of the Haverhill High Class of 1952 and owner of Academy Lanes bowling complex in Bradford, has made several major donations to his alma mater in recent years. In 2016, he donated $800,000 for a new, 5,000 square feet clubhouse at Haverhill Stadium. He also contributed money to outfit a fitness room in the high school pool building and construction of a large iron-gated entrance to the school’s athletic fields and fencing to secure the athletic fields and for lighting around the track.

The Haverhill High campus will now boast an indoor swimming pool, indoor hockey and ice-skating rink, and indoor tennis/pickleball courts, along with a new, multi-sport artificial grass playing field and modern running track.

The new tennis building will be a shared city and school resource, available to high school students and student-athletes during the school day and the public after school and on weekends. It will include two tennis courts that can quickly convert into four pickleball courts. The groundbreaking ceremony takes place Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 2:30 p.m.

School Facilities Director Stephen D. Dorrance said he expects it to take about four months to build and open the building, depending on weather. He noted state law requires outside contractors or workers who would “likely have unsupervised contact with students” must pass a criminal background check, commonly known as a CORI check. Dorrance noted that construction of the tennis building is to take place inside “a fenced-in and restricted area.”

The original plan was to build the tennis building at the city’s Riverside Park, but space limitations and special requirements for new construction near the Merrimack River necessitated the project finding another home.

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