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Downed tree closes tennis courts

A large oak tree crashed through a fence and onto tennis courts at San Ramon Valley High this weekend, closing two courts.

The 4 foot wide oak tree fell through a chain link fence and onto the courts sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning, said Frank Haswell, SRVHS tennis coach and owner of Tennis Trophies and Tee Time. The tree was rotten at its base and hit an adjacent tree on its way down and pulled off its branch; that tree must be removed.

"Looks like one court will have some dings and gouges on it, the back fence along two courts is totally ruined," Haswell said. "They're going to have to trim other trees to try and balance them because they're exposed now."

Terry Koehe, the school district's community relations coordinator, estimated the damage at $2,000 and said repairs will be done by the end of the week. Although the cause of the fall is unknown, Koehne said the district had thinned out those trees seven months before and they shouldn't be top heavy.

"We know it was relatively windy that evening. It partially had to do with the age of the tree, but we're not sure if it was the wind that ultimately took it down," he said.

The downed tree and court damage significantly affected practice, which began two weeks ago, Haswell said. Students will practice on four courts instead of six and Haswell scheduled a match at another school to get off the courts.

Because the tree split, crews must remove it in pieces. The district may plant additional trees in its place.

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