On Sept. 11, benefactors, trustees and students alike gathered behind the softball field to celebrate the grand opening of the new tennis courts. The idea to rebuild the old courts started five years ago when new Cebula Hall was built. The condition of the previous courts was poor, making them difficult to play on, before they were removed altogether. When they were removed it was promised that new courts would be installed in the future. Since then, students have regularly expressed interest in new tennis courts.
Thanks to generous donations from various individuals and families, as well as the Abbey, the promise of new tennis courts came true. Over the last nine months, the courts were constructed and completed, and are now open for the community to use.
Kathleen Heynderickx, wife of Saint Martin’s University’s president, expressed excitement over the grand opening. “This is satisfying to me to service our Saint Martin’s community,” Heynderickx stated. The tennis courts provide ample student engagement, allowing more opportunities for the community to interact and connect through activities. Heynderickx commented that “just being able to have club tennis would be great and involve us more in a different aspect than our regular sports teams.”
One of the women’s basketball team coaches, Lindsey Foster, also showed her support at the ceremony. Foster said, “I look forward to seeing students get together and just come out and have fun. They don’t even have to be part of an athletic team, you can just get some friends and come out here and enjoy yourself.” The courts offer another avenue of exercise with health benefits to follow. “These are great and new and I think that’s going to be something that students really love,” Foster said. With lots of requests for the new courts, there is a lot of excitement for their future use.
Who can enjoy the new tennis courts? Everyone who is a part of the campus community is free to enjoy the tennis courts from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, as well as bring friends from around the community. Alumni can also come and utilize this new facility. Equipment or not, there are tennis rackets and balls available in the Rec Center that can be checked out. Courts can also be reserved for up to two hours.
While there are no official tennis teams currently, there is a unified hope that the courts will bring out various collaborative activities among students and the community. These courts will allow the ease of tennis clubs to start, and with growing interest, eventually intramural sports.
Whether experienced in tennis or not, everyone is welcome to enjoy these tennis courts at their leisure, with friends, family or as a club. These courts provide more than just a covered space to play tennis. They provide a chance to connect the campus and the community and expand the facilities that Saint Martin’s offers. With many requests for new courts over the past few years, Saint Martin’s promise has come to fruition for students, staff and faculty to enjoy.
Written by Hannah Gabel, Staff Writer