Campus tennis courts construction continues
By Cristian Alardin
Bridge contributing writer
Originally published in the print edition on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021
City of Laredo officials say the TAMIU Tennis Complex should be completed in early 2022. Laredo Communications Administrator Noraida Negron wrote in an email that the project, formally introduced on June 8, nears completion.
Though the initial discussion on campus occurred earlier on Sept. 9, 2019, when Texas A&M International University administration held a referendum regarding the complex’s creation.
The tennis court is a joint effort developed from the City, its recreation department, the TAMIU Athletics Department, the Laredo Tennis Association and the U.S. Tennis Association.
“The City of Laredo Tennis Complex at TAMIU is a partnership between the city of Laredo and the University,” Negron wrote in the email. “This new state-of-the-art facility will prompt TAMIU to create a tennis team and use the facility to compete [at the] collegiate level. The University will also be able to host tournaments at this new facility. In addition, the entire community will also have access to the facility on the TAMIU campus.”
TAMIU President Pablo Arenaz spoke at the complex’s introduction, addressing how this facility is not only for campus, but all of Laredo.
“This is a public-public project as we worked long and worked hard to get this done, in a great partnership with the City of Laredo,” Arenaz said. “This Tennis Complex is a shining example of the partnership with the City. We’re also planning on the addition of collegiate-level tennis to our 11 NCAA Division II sports, and hope that will encourage local tennis players to stay here at TAMIU.”
The previous ceremony involved several council members and other officials: District 5’s Ruben Gutierrez Jr., District 3’s Mercurio Martinez III, City Manager Robert A. Eads, Laredo Tennis Association President Tina Trevino and Arenaz.
The opening ceremony plans are still in development, according to Negron’s email.
“The City of Laredo, alongside TAMIU, will prepare for an opening ceremony just like we did when we announced the construction [back in June]. We are excited about this new partnership and cannot wait for the community and the TAMIU students to take advantage of the new amenities. The city of Laredo looks forward to the completion of this project for Laredoans and Dustdevils to enjoy.”
Athletics Director Griz Zimmermann wrote in email, “At this time, we do not have the program in place, but when we do, the new head coach will determine that process [of selecting a team] … When the team is started, there will be athletic scholarships available [to the players].”
Alumnus Iran Rodriguez graduated in 2019.
“I feel like I’m very sad to hear that the trail is gone because of this,” Rodriguez said. “I used to love going on walks there in between classes when it wasn’t hot. The hidden dinosaur, bees around the flowers of nopales when they were in season—these are things I’m going to miss most.”
Part of the TAMIU bike trail was leveled for land needed to build the complex. Nopales and Spanish dagger, which might have been upward of 100s years old, were demolished.
“Despite being a little negative about it, I am pretty excited to see the sport being integrated into TAMIU,” Rodriguez added. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of scholarship opportunities thanks to this, so that’s nice.”
Freshman pre-nursing major Kayzee Emma Noelle Orallo looks positively at the prospect of tennis on campus.
“I’ve played tennis in middle school for at least two years [and] friends who actually [played] tennis during high school,” Orallo said. “I’ve told friends and they say we have to go … I’ll obviously be going since I’ve been looking for tennis courts. There’s one downtown but we don’t have time to go downtown. So, I’ll definitely be going to this tennis court.”