Drawings were on the board and talks had begun about building a new indoor tennis facility on campus for both the men and women’s teams, but it looks like those plans won’t come to fruition anytime soon.
University Park Undergraduate Association President Courtney Lennartz and UPUA Chair of Internal Development Dray Krishnan both said Thursday that facilities fee funds will not go toward the renovations of the Tennis Complex, as was talked about.
The layout had the facility placed near the Sarni Tennis Center, between the outdoor pool and the field hockey field. Completion was expected for the fall of 2014.
Penn State head coach Jeff Zinn said Tuesday that the discussion of plans for a new facility is not a recent development. He also said plans were being talked about before he interviewed for the coaching position two summers ago.
Zinn said he thinks talks vamped up recently because of the current, aging indoor facility.
“It’s been a while,” Zinn said Thursday. “It’s close for the oldest facility in the Big Ten with Wisconsin, but theirs is a little better because they have more courts.”
Assistant coach Chris Cagle said the athletic department is working on improving some of the spring Olympic sports facilities with the possibility of a new natatorium being discussed. Cagle said a new tennis center would be a key component in the process of elevating those types of sports.
He also said a new facility would add to Penn State’s repertoire of recruiting tools.
“Penn State, new tennis facility or not, has so much to offer; academic reputation as well as on-field successes,” Cagle said. “But a new indoor center would just be another piece of that puzzle to help recruits to Penn State.”
Although Zinn said the team has gotten by for years on the current four indoor courts and could continue to do so, he said a new facility could have potentially elevated the program.
“I think it helps in the long-term goals of really taking the program up to a top 25 level,” Zinn said. “I think you have to have facilities that have top 25 caliber.”
Zinn said the new indoor facility would have been a win-win situation for not only his team, but for fans and members of the tennis club at Penn State.
“It would enhance the fans being able to come out and watch the match on six continuous courts,” Zinn said. “It would help our indoor tennis membership because we have tennis members that actually belong to the indoor club that we have here presently, so that would enhance that by having the 10 courts.”
Zinn said those additional sectioned six courts would have made it possible to have matches going on for the team while members could play recreationally at the same time.
Drawings for the center had a large lobby area with a pro shop for members and students. Zinn said the facility would help out students interested in playing tennis.
“We have a lot of students that like to play tennis,” Zinn said Thursday. “It gives an advantage to students that [say], ‘Hey, you guys have a lot more opportunities now to play indoors and a lot more times that are convenient for you.’ So that’s why I think administration is really pushing it because it is a benefit to everybody.”
Although a new facility would increase the amount of courts for the team to play on, Cagle said the Sarni Tennis Center would still be heavily used.
“We are big believers in playing outdoors as much as possible,” Cagle said. “Big Ten tournament and NCAA tournament are both played outdoors and those are the times of year we try to peak.”
Collegian staff writer Lauren Blum contributed to this report.