MELISSA — Things keep popping at The Z-Plex Texas Sports Village on FM 545 in Melissa.


Already a regional baseball and softball complex with five state-of-the-art fields, this two-year-old home to Melissa High School’s teams will soon add a 12-court tennis facility, including four indoor courts.


Groundbreaking for the new Melissa Independent School District facility was held last Thursday afternoon with members of the MHS tennis team and their coaches participating, along with several MISD administrators and parents.


Third-year Melissa head tennis coach Brad Crawford, who came out of retirement to coach at MHS, said the wait for the approximately seven-acre venue on the Z-Plex’s east side has been well worth it.


“When they talked to me about coming here and starting to build up the program, they said, ‘It’s going to take a while to get the tennis facility built — but when we do it’s going to be amazing,’” Crawford said. “And I’m telling you, all you’ve got to do is look at the plans to know this is going to be one of the most premiere facilities anywhere. We’re going to have more courts than surrounding colleges. And the four covered courts — that’s something that’s almost unheard of with high schools.”


With cooperation from the weather this fall, construction could be completed by the end of the year, Crawford said. The project’s general contractor is Piazza Construction. The Z-Plex Texas Sports Village is owned by the city of Melissa. Melissa ISD partnered with the city to build the Cardinal baseball and Lady Cardinal softball fields, and now the Cardinal tennis complex. Use of the facilities by groups other than MISD schools is managed Melissa Sports, LLC.


“This 12-court tennis complex is going to be a tremendous asset for Melissa ISD and also for the community of Melissa,” MISD Executive Director of Operations Kenny Deel said. “We feel like it’s going to be far-reaching for the growth of our tennis program.”


Deel said credit for this new vision goes to MISD Superintendent Keith Murphy and Crawford. MISD Director of Athletic Operations and Community Partnerships Duke Sparks said he gets emotional talking about another new project getting underway.


“To have a vision and to be able to see, touch and feel it, it’s just one of the greatest feelings in the world,” Sparks said. “Coach Crawford has done an amazing job building this program. This (new facility) is just going to enhance that. We’re so excited about the partnership we have with the city and the great job Piazza is doing out here. We’re looking forward to bigger and better things.”