Tennis Industry magazine


Nifty Nine

These outdoor winners are excellent examples of hard-court construction — and in overcoming obstacles.

By Peter Francesconi

The nine outdoor hard-court winners of the 2011 Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards range in size from the three courts at a public park in Massachusetts to a huge 24-court complex in South Carolina. Five of these projects — mostly the larger ones — were new construction; the others were upgrades, but in many cases total rebuilds. And many had to overcome some challenging situations during construction to reach an excellent conclusion.

At the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., a soccer practice field was converted into a 12-court asphalt tennis facility and included drainage, sidewalks, sitting areas and storm-water retention areas. The site was extremely rocky and difficult to work with, and all fence posts, net posts and center anchor footings — more than 250 in all — used Bigfoot Systems concrete footing forms.

The Blackhawk School District in Beaver Falls, Pa., demolished its existing three courts and built five courts — in a two-court battery and three-court battery. The project required cutting and filling, installing an underground storm-water detention system, and installing trench drains. The underground detention system called for removing a large amount of soil to install 480 linear feet of 60-inch diameter pipe. During construction, an old building foundation and abandoned well were uncovered and had to be dealt with.

The new 12-court facility at Colorado State University includes lights on eight courts, with provisions for future lighting on the remaining four. Each court was designed to be accessible to players without impacting other courts. The biggest issue was the facility had to be sloped to avoid draining into an adjacent irrigation canal, so water has to drain across three courts and the 24-foot-wide central walkway.

Rebuilding the municipal complex in Elkin, N.C., meant removing the fencing and pulverizing the old asphalt to re-use as a base for the eight new courts. The contractor had to deal with poor soil conditions (requiring a 12-inch full-depth reclamation with lime stabilization) and poor drainage from a hillside and parking lot (building new boxes, re-grading swales, and installing about 450 linear feet of French drain between the courts and a hillside and parking lot).

Record rainfall and wet conditions made the construction of the new 24-court Florence Tennis Center a challenge. The contractor had to bring in several tons of stone to create temporary roads to help the heavy equipment get around in the soft areas of the construction site, a former cotton field donated by a local businessman. But once the rain subsided, the project proceeded smoothly. There are 10 two-court batteries, a three-court battery, and a single court, which eventually will be surrounded by stadium seating. Also under construction is a multi-million-dollar building to include locker rooms, a pro shop, eating areas and a deck.

To build the eight new post-tensioned concrete courts in Goddard, Kan., in four pairs, the contractor had to contend with windy conditions that blew around a lot of dust. After the concrete was poured, some areas required grinding to even off the high spots.

Redoing the three tennis courts in West Boylston, Mass., was part of a major park renovation project that had overwhelming public support and involvement. The existing courts, on a sloping site, had major erosion problems and became unsafe to use. To fix the problem, the contractor built two terraces using retaining walls to maximize court space and protect existing amenities.

We honored the New Orleans City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center in our April issue for its 10 clay courts; now we’re honoring the facility for the 17 post-tensioned concrete courts, which include a practice court and a stadium court. The practice court has backboards on both ends, including a 12-foot concave backboard. The site chosen for the facility had a history of flooding, poor drainage and soil stability issues; construction involved installing drainage and sub-drainage systems and adding corrugated drainpipe and concrete catch basins to direct water to the city storm sewer system.

The four courts at Polo Park in Miami Beach had problems — they had been sloped incorrectly (from the net line to the ends) and had severe cracking below grade and on the surface. Due to budget constraints, the old courts were not demolished and removed, but the new courts were built on top, first installing a reinforced rebar curb around the existing fencing, then patching all the structural cracks and installing various layers and systems over that to reduce the possibility of future cracks.

For details on the 2012 Outstanding Facility-of-the-Year Awards, contact the ASBA at 866-501-ASBA or, or visit

New Orleans City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center

New Orleans, La.

(Nominated by American Tennis Courts Inc., Mobile, Ala.)

Specialty Contractor: American Tennis Courts Inc.

No. of Courts: 17 hard (10 clay)

Surfaces: World Class Athletic Surfaces (hard); Har-Tru Sports HydroBlend (soft)

Net Posts: Edwards Classic Round

Center Straps: Edwards

Backboards: Bakko Backboards

Blackhawk School District

Beaver Falls, Pa.

(Nominated by Vasco Sports Contractors, Massillon, Ohio)

General Contractor: Vasco Sports Contractors

No. of Courts: 5

Surface: Deco Color–California Products

Net Posts, Nets, Tie Downs: J.A. Cissel

Drain: ACO Polymer Products trench drain

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, Colo.

(Nominated by Renner Sports Surfaces, Denver)

Specialty Contractor: Renner Sports Surfaces

No. of Courts: 12

Lighting: LSI Courtsider XL Sports Lighting

Acrylic Resurfacer, Color and Line Paint: World Class Athletic Surfaces

Net Posts, Nets, Windscreens: Douglas Industries

Elkin Municipal “Tom Gwyn Tennis Complex”

Elkin, N.C.

(Nominated by Court One–Div. of Recreational Ventures, Granite Quarry, N.C.)

General Contractor: Court One

No. of Courts: 8

Surface: Laykold

Net Posts: J.A. Cissel

Nets: Pro-1 Sports

Florence Tennis Center

Florence, S.C.

(Nominated by Talbot Tennis, Marietta, Ga.)

Specialty Contractor: Talbot Tennis, Musco

No. of Courts: 24

Surface: Laykold

Net Posts, Nets, Windscreens: J.A. Cissell

Lighting: Musco

Berkshire School

Sheffield, Mass.

(Nominated by Cape & Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, Mass.)

Specialty Contractor: Cape & Island Tennis & Track

No. of Courts: 12

Surface: DecoTurf

Net Posts, Sleeves: Douglas Sports Nets & Equipment

Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis HydroGrid

Net, Windscreen: J.A. Cissel

Center Straps, Anchors: J.A. Cissel

Goddard USD 265 Sports Complex

Goddard, Kan.

(Nominated by Mid-American Courtworks, Wichita, Kan.)

Specialty Contractor: Mid-American Courtworks

No. of Courts: 8

Color Surface System: Advantage Sports Surface Systems (Vance Bros.)

Net Posts, Nets: Douglas industries

Goodale Park

West Boylston, Mass.

(Nominated by Warner Larson Inc., Boston)

Architect/Engineer: Warner Larson Inc.

No. of Courts: 3

Tennis Facility at Polo Park

Miami Beach, Fla.

(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)

Architect/Engineer/Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts

No. of Courts: 4

Surface: Nova Sports

Nets, Accessories: Fast-Dry Courts

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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