Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Paint mishap postpones tennis court opening ceremony

Riley Vu
New tennis courts at Lincoln Park on Nov. 14.

Augustana’s opening ceremony of the new tennis courts, located at Lincoln Park, has been postponed. The ceremony was scheduled for October but will now take place in the spring due to a painting mishap. The courts will be open to the public and be ready for the second half of the women’s tennis season, as well as for the entirety of the men’s tennis season.

The courts were initially painted wrong and can only be painted when the surface has been above a certain temperature for a certain amount of time. 

Senior Mia Reese, varsity women’s tennis player, was asked to speak at the court’s ribbon cutting before it was postponed to the spring. 

“They put the wrong color on the inside vs. the outside of the court, and as such our new courts have a major delay as to when they will be completed,” Reese said. 

The courts and construction are otherwise finished, but players must wait until they can be repainted.

Senior Caitlyn Hanulikova, varsity women’s tennis player, has been looking forward to playing on the new courts.

“It’s really exciting because all of us have wanted to play on new courts for a while,” Hanulikova said. “I think it’ll make us work harder, and then it’ll show when we play our matches.”

The new courts were announced as early as Hanulikova’s freshman year, but it wasn’t until her junior year that the plans started moving forward. She gave credit to her tennis coach, David DeSimone, who joined Augustana in 2021, for being the catalyst.

“Our current coach came in about two years ago, and he was the one that got it to happen,” Hanulikova said. 

Two fences currently surround the new courts: one for keeping the ball in and one for added safety, with new bleachers settled between them to double the amount of seating.

“Hopefully, we can get some more people in the spring to come watch us,” Hanulikova said.

She also described the less-than-perfect state of the old courts. According to Hanulikova, some of the old bleachers are wooden and falling apart, while the windscreens on either end are faded and ripped. She also said there were dead zones, where the ball doesn’t bounce well, and cracks.

The old courts are centrally located between Lindberg, Evald, Bergendoff and parking that accounts for a large part of the lower campus. Resurfacing was an option, but Augustana decided to build new courts.

Kirk Anderson, chief financial officer, said that resurfacing would not have been much cheaper than building new courts entirely. Anderson also said that it opened up the location of the old courts for use, though the use for the location is still uncertain.

“It’s sitting as of right now,” Anderson said. “We’ll be talking about possible opportunities as we develop our campus master plan. May 2024 is our target date to have that wrapped up.”

The location of the new courts has also been under scrutiny. A WQAD article from 2019 mentions three instances of gun violence at Lincoln Park, while an article in the Quad City Times mentions the theft of thousands of dollars of equipment stored in a building at the park.

After the shootings at the park, which used to have basketball courts in addition to tennis courts, the basketball hoops were dismantled. The issue was not resolved until the partnership between Rock Island and Augustana for the new courts came along.

While the old basketball courts were popular, the new tennis courts are also open to the public and mark a new chapter for Augustana men’s and women’s tennis.

“I would say, for the most part, other schools have really good courts,” Hanulikova said. “I’m definitely excited that we’ll be one of those schools too.”

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