It’s been four years since the Purdue community last played tennis on campus. The six tennis courts, left unmaintained near Windsor Hall, aren’t simply abandoned without reason.
According to Mitch Nettesheim, senior associate director of facilities and operations at the division of recreational sports, the tennis courts have not been maintained since May 2010.
Until four years ago, the division of recreational sports had ownership and control over the courts, until they made an exchange. A trade with the housing and food services occurred; the department lost access and ownership of the courts, but received aid from housing and food services to build another set of six courts west of TREC. Division of recreational sports had to let go of the courts because housing and food services needed the land to use it for staging of construction materials for the refurbishment of Windsor Hall.
Currently, the tennis courts look like an aftermath of a storm, fences torn down and weeds growing out of cracks in the pavement. Although the appearance of tennis courts is not what everyone wants on campus, the courts are there unmaintained for a reason.
“There’s a lot of maintenance work that would be necessary to bring them back up to speed, and it just wasn’t fiscally prudent,” said Nettesheim.
There are no current plans to revive the old tennis courts, especially with the new set of tennis courts being built a block away. Old courts will be used in the future for construction of an additional residence hall – all part of Purdue Moves.
Fences are everywhere for construction reasons at this point of summer, but behind the ones by the TREC are six brand new hard tennis court with lights, scheduled to be complete by early August. The new courts will be owned and managed by the division of recreational sports and will be open to the public and can be accessed without a Purdue ID card or key. Though court hours will be enforced, lights will enable users to enjoy the sport after dusk.
For the past four years, students, faculty and staff all had to make a short ride up to the Schwartz Center to play tennis, regardless of indoor or outdoor courts. With the addition of six new courts, the community can stay on campus for the outdoor leisure.
”The off-campus courts are pretty far away and obviously the varsity teams play there often so having courts on campus again would be awesome,” said Tornike Shubitidze, a junior in the College of Science and an avid tennis player.
The outdoor tennis season isn’t long in Indiana, due to weather limitations, confining tennis players to play indoors. Currently, the Schwartz Center offers just six courts to serve the entire University community for about five months. Some users ask for affordable indoor courts that satisfy higher demand.
“I have to pay for indoor courts,” said Ekin Orer, a junior in the College of Engineering. “The prices change between $18 to $24 per hour, which I find ridiculous.”
“This phase of shifting old courts into construction materials holder and building a new set of courts will attract more tennis activities on campus.”