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ITHF breaks ground on $15.7M project

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island has broken ground on the first project within a multi-faceted $15.7 million capital campaign and improvement project.

“This is the largest, most exciting project the International Tennis Hall of Fame has ever taken on. The Hall of Fame welcomes thousands of tennis fans from all over the world each year. Our goal within this project is to make the Hall of Fame a must-see international destination for all tennis fans, and to ensure that the facility is an asset to our local community,” commented International Tennis Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser, who also serves as co-chair of the Capital Campaign Committee.

Michael Behan, Gary Brewer, Nancy von Auersperg, John Arnhold, Dan Paquette, Barbara van Beuren, Happy van Beuren, Todd Martin, Stan Smith, Newport City Council Vice Chair Naomi Neville, President of the Rhode Island Senate Teresa Paiva Weed, United States Congressman David Cicilline, Mark Stenning, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Doug Madden, Christopher Clouser, Ed Woolard, and Peggy Woolard. Photos by Kate Whitney Lucey

“A project of this scale is only possible thanks to tremendous support from committed donors, an engaged campaign committee, and a supportive community. I would like to thank our outstanding donors and also recognize my Campaign Co-Chair Ed Woolard for his unwavering dedication,” commented Clouser.

The four primary focus areas of the project, which is funded by the Match Point Capital Campaign, are to add additional tennis courts and facilities; to strategically expand the Hall of Fame’s footprint in a manner that is in keeping with Newport’s historic aesthetic and enhances the community; to upgrade the museum with new technology and enhanced exhibitions; and to improve campus-wide amenities including upgrades to the tennis stadium.

Hall of Fame leaders and project donors gathered today with an enthusiastic group of about 200 supporters and community leaders to celebrate the official groundbreaking. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, United States Congressman David Cicilline, President of the Rhode Island Senate Teresa Paiva Weed, and Newport City Council Vice Chair Naomi Neville were among those who participated in the official groundbreaking ceremony.

The groundbreaking ceremony was primarily focused on the first component of the project, which is the development of a significant building that will re-define a major Newport street, Memorial Boulevard. The 16,000 square foot building will house locker rooms, a fitness area, retail space, and Hall of Fame offices. Adjacent to this building will be a 21,000 square foot facility containing 3 indoor tennis courts, with 3 adjacent indoor/outdoor courts.

Newport City Council Vice Chair Naomi Neville, Newport City Manager Jane Howington, Councilor Justin McLaughlin, and ITHF CEO Mark Stenning

“A major priority within this project has always been to ensure that it be a benefit to our entire community. The buildings will revitalize an important Newport streetscape, and we will be able to offer increased tennis programming in the new facilities,” commented Mark Stenning, CEO. “The project has received great support from our government leaders and the City of Newport, for which we are appreciative.”

Also participating in today’s ceremony was Doug Madden, an 11-year-old fifth grader from Gaudet Middle School who plays tennis regularly at the Hall of Fame Tennis Club.

Todd Martin and Doug Madden

“Doug and his friends are the future of our sport, and we are doing this expansion so that they will be able to enjoy this new facility for many years to come,” commented Clouser.

The new buildings have been designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP (“RAMSA”), an internationally recognized architecture firm that has a deep respect for history. This was important to the Hall of Fame in the selection process to ensure that the buildings would accomplish the campaign goals of expanding the Hall of Fame’s footprint within its architecturally and historically significant context, while efficiently transforming a centrally located parcel of land in a manner that is in the best interest of the neighborhood. Locally, RAMSA was responsible for the design of both the Rodgers Recreation Center (2000) and Our Lady of Mercy Chapel (2012) at Salve Regina University and the Nelson Fitness Center at Brown University (2012). Gary Brewer will serve as RAMSA’s Partner-in-Charge on the project.

The new buildings have been designed to be complementary to the beautifully restored historic buildings of the Newport Casino, in which the Hall of Fame is located. The Newport Casino, which is done in a beautiful Shingle Style of architecture, was designed by McKim, Mead, and White in 1880 and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

“In moving forward with this project, it was of the highest priority for the Hall of Fame to engage vendors who would be as engaged and invested in its success as we are,” commented Stenning. “We have certainly found that support in our Owners Representative, Dan Paquette; our Construction Manager, Behan Brothers of Middletown; and our architect, Robert A.M. Stern Architects.”

Behan Brothers, Inc., which is owned by Michael J. Behan and based in Middletown, R.I., has extensive experience ranging from luxury homes to large and technically demanding commercial structures. Recent work in nearby areas has included a historic renovation on the Redwood Library in Newport, R.I., new construction on the Tiverton Public Library in Tiverton, R.I., and construction management on the Carnegie Abbey Golf House in Portsmouth, R.I.

Dan Paquette, managing partner of SCM, LLC is serving as the owner’s representative on the project. He oversees functions including land acquisition and entitlements, budgets and schedules, management of the Architect and Construction Manager, project coordination, fundraising support, and project closeout.

Following today’s groundbreaking ceremony, work will progress rapidly on the new tennis facilities, with additional phases of the campaign projects being implemented in the near future. Later this year, a complete renovation will begin on the museum. The new museum will offer a significantly improved visitor experience through state-of-the-art technology and a complete re-interpretation of the museum collection to best showcase the history of tennis and its greatest champions and leaders.

Additionally, improvements will be made to the Hall of Fame grounds, including an entirely new South Grandstand in the stadium, providing more comfortable seating and handicap accessibility.

Further information and regular updates about the project progress can be found on tennisfame.com/MatchPointCampaign.

 

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