By Eric Greene
Vice President for Communications and Advancement
Picture yourself arriving on the beautiful campus of Kellogg Community College on a sunny afternoon. As you step out of your car, you immediately hear laughter, friendly conversation and the gentle pop-pop-pop of pickleball, one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
Approaching the north end of the campus, the source of the sound comes into view: An outdoor pickleball complex with players and spectators of all ages and skill levels enjoying a fun, healthy activity.
Designed to facilitate the community’s interest in pickleball and welcome guests to the KCC campus in Battle Creek, the KCC Pickleball Complex will soon feature 12 courts for recreational and tournament play while serving as the largest outdoor pickleball destination in the Battle Creek area. KCC is currently inviting members of the community to donate to the project and join the College in creating a top-notch facility that will be open to people of all ages and abilities.
In the past several years, we at KCC have observed a steady increase in the number of recreational pickleball players who use the eight existing outdoor courts. It is common to see 40 to 60 players using the courts daily in the spring, summer and fall. KCC previously converted tennis courts into pickleball courts at the request of community members who enjoy spending time on KCC’s campus.
This fall, the KCC Board of Trustees authorized a project to expand the number of courts to a total of 12 from the current eight. This will allow more games to occur simultaneously and reduce players’ wait times between games. Using the USA Pickleball specifications as a guide, KCC has engaged with Battle Creek-based Schweitzer Inc. to generate plans for the project and elevate all 12 courts to a quality that will accommodate organized tournaments.
- Funds raised for this project will support key components, such as:
- Converting two tennis courts into four new pickleball courts
- Repairing surfaces of eight existing courts
- Adding windscreens to create optimal conditions for gameplay
- Installing benches for players waiting between games
- Adding new nets and court dividers
- Installing gates between courts to allow for faster travel between courts
Once completed, we expect this project will serve as an asset to community members, taxpayers and tourists – as well as KCC students and employees – across the area by providing an enhanced outdoor facility for pickleball. In 2022 and 2023, KCC planned this project by working closely with multiple community members, including the community-driven pickleball clubs that actively use the KCC courts; the City of Battle Creek, which supports the project as an improvement to the community’s quality of life; the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, which has committed funding for the project and anticipates it will bring tourists to the north side of Battle Creek; and the board, facilities and institutional leaders of KCC, who have expressed support for a project that will enhance the campus guest experience and provide additional health and wellness opportunities to the public.
You Can Help!
The KCC Pickleball Project will cost approximately $160,000. Through donations and KCC support, we have already raised more than half of the project total, but we are still seeking to raise $50,000 from the community.
If you would like to give, visit kellogg.edu/pickleball and click the “Click Here to Donate” button. Anything and everything helps. We appreciate every contribution!
If you prefer to give by cash or check, please address your gift to:
Kellogg Community College
c/o KCC Pickleball Project Fund
450 North Ave.
Battle Creek, MI 49017
Gifts of $100 or more will qualify a donor for the following gestures of appreciation:
- Level 1 ($100 or more): KCC swag!
- Level 2 ($250 or more): Level 1, plus a one-hour pickleball lesson!
- Level 3 ($500 or more): Level 2, plus lunch at KCC and a $50 gift certificate for a Lifelong Learning class!
- Level 4 ($750 or more): Level 3, plus a vinyl banner ad on the KCC pickleball fence for two seven-month seasons!
- Level 5 ($1,500 or more): Level 4, plus a commemorative plaque on one of 12 pickleball court benches!
If you have questions about this project, please contact Eric Greene, Vice President for Communications and Advancement, at email@example.com.
This article was originally written as the cover story for the September 2023 edition of BruIN magazine, coming soon. To read the issue online when published mid-September, please visit kellogg.edu/bruinmagazine.