New courts make tennis team ‘more competitive’

Jackson French

The tennis program is receiving a long-awaited boost with the construction of six new tennis courts on South Campus.

Associate athletic director Craig Biggs said the new courts are necessary in order to make the tennis team more competitive.

“Currently on campus, we only have three functional courts, and in order to have a functional practice facility and game facility, we need a minimum of six,” he said, adding that the requirement of six courts comes from an NCAA standard.

Biggs said the courts are being built across the street from the office of Parking and Transportation, adjacent to the intramural fields.

“It really was the best location space-wise that we could find,” he said. “We did a feasibility study several years ago to look at some potential locations and that was the best, easiest option for us.”

He said the new courts will be used for both practice and competition and for use in intramural sports.

“They’ll be programmed obviously by athletics for the tennis team, but they’ll also be programmed in conjunction with intramural recreational sports,” he said.

Biggs said he also expects the courts to be used by others.

“Outside of those times that we use for students and or the tennis team, we’ll most likely have them available for the public,” he said.

Bryan Russell, director of Planning, Design, and Construction, said the construction of the courts started on Oct. 1 and will be completed by spring.

He said the tennis team needs the new courts because the team doesn’t currently have the necessary amount of facilities and has to go off-campus to practice.

Russell said the construction of the courts will cost approximately $220,000 and is being paid for entirely by private funds.

He said the courts are intended mainly for use during the day and no lights are being constructed for it.

Though the courts are not currently intended for nighttime competition, Russell said lights may be added later if the needed funds can be gathered.

He said if lights are added, they will be recreational lights rather than tournament lighting.

In anticipation of the possible future upgrade, Russell said a conduit has been placed underneath the courts.

He said any lights added in the future will be connected to this conduit, adding that it is cheaper to build the underground electrical network now than to put it in when the lighting becomes available, which would require digging up the court.

Biggs said whether or not lights are added as a second stage of the project depends on whether or not the funds for it can be acquired.

“It’s actually most likely a multiple-stage project,” he said. “Right now the only thing we’re building is the six courts with obviously nets and poles and a fence around it and then in future phases, we hope to add lights at some point.”