Davidson College has begun construction of a 12-court open air tennis complex behind Baker Sports Complex to replace the current dozen outdoor courts, which do not adhere to industry standards and are suffering increasing asphalt fatigue. The construction, which should take about 7 months, will also include associated projects involving the tennis team locker rooms and the cross-country trail.
Men's tennis coach Drew Barrett said, "Our players are extremely excited about the improvements, and in terms of recruiting it will put us on the same footing facilities-wise as our new Atlantic 10 Conference opponents and other top teams nationwide."
Though the existing courts have been resurfaced occasionally through the years, their asphalt base is crumbling.
"We've been having more and more problems with cracks, water seepage, and fences," Barrett said. He also noted that the current complex has less room between courts than NCAA and U.S. Tennis Association standards dictate, and the offset between the rows of courts is an irregular configuration.
The new courts will be installed in a six-by-two configuration and meet all standards for court size and distance between courts. In addition, the courts will be oriented in a perfect north-south alignment and nets in perfect east-west alignment, both of which are industry standards. Half of the courts will be equipped with spectator grandstands. The construction project also will include installation of infrastructure for lights, which will be installed at a future date.
In addition to providing Davidson's men's and women's tennis teams with a first-class facility, the $1.55 million project will allow the two teams to play concurrent matches for the first time. The relocation of the tennis courts is made possible in part through the generosity of the Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation.
The project also involves extensive renovation and enlargement of the men's and women's tennis locker rooms in Knobloch Tennis Center. Recent installation of a door linking the tennis center to the lower floor of Belk Arena will mean that players can walk indoors all the way from their locker rooms to the new courts. The four indoor courts are not included in the project.
On Tuesday the general contractor for the project, J.D. Goodrum Company of Cornelius, N.C., put up construction fencing on the site, which for many years served as a practice field for the football team. The fencing eliminates a popular access point to the cross-country trails, but access is still available at the soccer stadium, located out the back of Baker and downhill by way of the paved path.
David Holthouser, director of facilities management, said when construction of the new courts is complete in February, the existing hard courts and the two clay courts behind Baker will be removed.
The footprint of the lower courts will then be landscaped as green space. Among its amenities, the area will serve as a new start/finish area for the cross-country course. A new section of the course will extend from that green space along the current creek until it joins the existing trail behind the soccer stadium. The uphill length of the creek along that new section of the course will be run through a culvert and covered. Further downstream the creek will flow into a new storm water detention pond.