Putting the backswing into tennis court construction
By Leslie Villafana Martinez
Bridge contributing writer
Published Saturday, April 3, 2021
The construction of 21 tennis courts defies the COVID-19 pandemic and cold temperatures to bring back outdoor activities and sports for summer 2022.
In a joint effort, Texas A&M International University and the City of Laredo create a sports complex on campus, which highlights 21 new tennis courts.
Senior Director of Campus Safety and Planning Trevor Liddle said the Laredo Engineering Department and other professional organizations oversee the design and construction of the tennis facility, while TAMIU provided the land.
“This is an exciting collaboration between TAMIU and the city to bring access to a world-class tennis facility that will benefit TAMIU and the general public for years to come,” Liddle wrote in an email.
City Engineer Ramon E. Chavez said the cost of the construction of the tennis courts is around $7 million.
“The project includes six collegiate-level courts and 12 recreational-level courts,” Chavez wrote in an email. “The project features a 9,000-square-foot two-story building with locker rooms, multi-purpose areas, offices, concession and public restrooms.”
Even though the tennis facility could possibly wake the interest of the TAMIU community and the public, it goes unnoticed by some students, such as senior mathematics major Jessica Olvera.
“It would be cool—but if it was after COVID, it would be better,” Olvera said.
In terms of the tennis complex, he opinions ranged between admitting interest and rejecting it due to the pandemic.
TAMIU junior communication major Gustavo Rangel said the project seems a bit premature.
“I feel like there [are] other things that [should] be [looked] at first and then we can do a park,” Rangel said.
Rangel said both TAMIU and the city should focus on other priorities rather than the construction of 21 tennis courts that would likely see limited usage, once completed.
“It would be great, but right now it’s just going to be like an ornament on the campus,” Olvera said.
Although the tennis facility is a project for the TAMIU and the Laredo community, it receives some rejection due to the pandemic.
Rangel said the potential the new tennis courts offer is insufficient to forget about the priorities, that is to control the increasing local COVID-19 cases.
Even so, the ongoing construction does not experience any delays due to the pandemic or the cold February weather. Liddle said the project is ahead of schedule since early February, thus both TAMIU and the contractor do not expect any significant impact on the completion of the tennis facility.
Despite the varying opinions, TAMIU officials expect it to bring diversion as well as health to the community.
“The unique ability to share this facility with the general public and our campus community will help drive general health and wellness for the Laredo community and provide opportunities to grow TAMIU’s intramural and intercollegiate sports, as the University grows,” Liddle wrote in an email.
To achieve competitive tennis play, Liddle said the tennis complex is being built by the U.S. Tennis Association standards. While other characteristics of the tennis facility will resemble the buildings on the TAMIU campus, Liddle said.
Although from the above students’ perspective, the new 21 tennis courts are not the greatest idea considering the pandemic; it is still a bit before the project completes. If the current situation gets better for summer 2022, this facility may serve as a breaking point for the pandemic.