These 8 outdoor hard-court facilities are great examples of excellent construction.
Is court construction coming back? Well, in this economy, it’s still hard to say, and at least in the Northeast, the amount of money municipalities have to spend due to the harsh winter is expected to negatively impact funds available for court projects. But when you look at our crop of outdoor hard-court award winners in the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association 2010 Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards, you get the sense that large municipal projects are still out there.
The latest winners, eight in all, are all new construction. Most of the projects are at least six courts, and in possibly another sign of the times, five have courts colored blue, similar to the courts at the US Open and US Open Series tournament sites. Only two of this group used post-tensioned concrete, but many projects had to deal with site difficulties that required “terracing” the courts.
The 10 courts at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas are post-tensioned concrete, sloped to a central walkway between the court batteries. Lights were installed on two courts, but conduits and foundations were put in for the others; to prevent a tripping hazard and avoid rust, the contractor set the foundations for the future lights 6 inches below the top of the concrete, then capped it with concrete grout.
The Brewster Municipal Tennis Court Complex in Massachusetts includes four shorter QuickStart Tennis courts for 10 and Under Tennis. Construction on this heavily wooded site, which has an elevation change of 25 feet, required building significant retaining walls, removing many large boulders and moving large amounts of earth. The innovative grading plan resulted in full ADA access without unsightly or complicated ramps.
In Novi, Mich., Catholic Central High School’s new courts are nestled into an existing clearing among 45 acres of trees, allowing for a beautiful backdrop for tennis. The site is surrounded by wetlands and woodlands, so it required more preparation so as not to impact the buffer zones. The eight courts at Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, Pa., are on a narrow tract of land, so they were arranged in four two-court batteries and terraced with 4- to 6-foot-high retaining walls. The school district needed the new facility to be able to compete in a new scholastic league they had just joined.
Holland Christian Schools in Michigan also needed to tier its 12 courts, in three groups of four courts each (the courts are in six batteries of two courts). Post-tensioned concrete was used to overcome the heavy clay soil conditions. The blue courts at Lynn University in Florida are in two three-court batteries. The contractor had major time constraints, as the school insisted the courts be completed and ready for play at the start of the new year (January 2010).
The Packer Park Tennis Center, with 12 courts, is the first tennis facility of its size in Colquitt County, Ga. The state had record amounts of rainfall during construction, which delayed the project several times as the sub-base needed time to dry out. At Oregon’s Silverton High School, the athletic director and tennis coaches were concerned about windy conditions that come up early in the evenings. To solve that problem, a full-length hitting wall was constructed on the west ends of the courts and halfway across the south end, to act as a wind buffer while providing a training area.
Silverton High School Tennis Facility
(Nominated by Atlas Track & Tennis, Tualatin, Ore.)
No. of Courts: 4
Court Equipment: Douglas Industries
Lighting: LSI Courtsider Lighting
Fencing: Atlas Track & Tennis
Bishop Gorman High School
Las Vegas, Nev.
(Nominated by Renner Sports Surfaces, Denver, Co.)
Specialty Contractor: Renner Sports Surfaces
No. of Courts: 10
Surface: Renner Sports Surfaces
Net Posts, Nets: Douglas Industries
Lights, Posts: LSI Courtsider Lighting
Brewster Municipal Tennis Court Complex
(Nominated by Gale Associates Inc., Weymouth, Mass.)
Architect/Engineer: Gale Associates Inc.
General Contractor: R.A.D. Sports Inc.
Specialty Contractor: Cape and Island Tennis & Track
No. of Courts: 8 (4 standard, 4 QuickStart)
Catholic Central High School
(Nominated by Grissim Metz Andriese Associates, Northville, Mich.)
Architect/Engineer: Richard Houdek, Grissim Metz Andriese Associates
No. of Courts: 8
Garnet Valley High School
Glen Mills, Pa.
(Nominated by ELA Sport, Lititz, Pa.)
Architect/Engineer: ELA Sport/ELA Group Inc.
General Contractor: Sportsline Inc.
No. of Courts: 8
Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
Nets, Accessories: College Pacific
Holland Christian Schools
(Nominated by URS Corp., Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Architect/Engineer: URS Corp.
Construction Manager: DVK Construction
No. of Courts: 12
Nets, Posts, Straps: Douglas Industries
Caulk: NovaSports USA
Lynn University Tennis Facility
Boca Raton, Fla
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Specialty Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts
No. of Courts: 6
Surface: Nova Sports
Nets, Accessories: Fast-Dry Courts
Fencing: Fast-Dry Courts
Packer Park Tennis Center
(Nominated by Talbot Tennis, Marietta, Ga.)
Specialty Contractor: Talbot Tennis
No. of Courts: 12
Fencing: Talbot Tennis
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.