Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Despite paint mishap, tennis team has a ball on the court

Giang Do
Augustana College women’s tennis team practices on the new Lincoln Park Tennis Court near Swanson, equipped with benches.

Augustana tennis’ spring season is underway, and men’s and women’s teams have had two matches on their new courts, located in Lincoln Park, despite a previous paint mishap in the fall of 2023. 

According to Kirk Anderson, chief financial officer and vice president of administration, outdoor temperatures are still not warm enough to fix the paint mistake on the courts, preventing an official ribbon-cutting ceremony this spring. An official date for a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be set after the paint is fixed. 

Mike Zapolski, director of athletics, hopes the ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in the fall of 2024, making the courts officially open for public use.

“The [new] courts have been tremendous,” Zapolski said. 

The college developed plans to install a restroom and storage area by the new tennis courts. This plan, however, is currently on hold. According to Anderson, the project’s appraisal was higher than predicted, exceeding the plan’s budget. There is no current timeline for when the restroom and storage area will be installed. 

According to Zapolski, the old tennis courts, located by the Carver Center, have been in use since the 1970s. Due to excessive use and Midwest temperatures, the foundation has grown too old, causing cracks and uneven surfaces to form. The new tennis courts have a much more dependable playing surface. 

Maitreyi Shrikhande, a sophomore tennis player, has played on both the old and new tennis courts. 

“As a player, [a cracked court] is horrifying,” Shrikhande said. “Sometimes you’re playing a point, and if the ball lands on a crack, you don’t know which way it’s going to go.”

In the spring of 2023, Augustana partnered with the City of Rock Island to develop new tennis courts for the tennis teams and Rock Island community members. The tennis courts were built on public land, which Augustana leases from the City of Rock Island. The courts are not officially open to the public yet. 

“We hope that everybody can use [the courts] and will use them,” Anderson said. “Everybody is technically able to use them.” 

The location of the old courts has limited seating for spectators and players. The new courts, however, have several sets of bleachers for family and friends to watch from and players to rest on. 

Despite the new courts’ benefits, players have concerns about the challenges the location provides. Unlike the old tennis courts’ central location, the new tennis courts are further from campus. According to Shrikhande, the location is convenient for some and a hassle for others, as some players live across the street from the courts, and some worry about securing a parking spot. 

In the future, the location of the old tennis courts could be used for a variety of projects. According to Anderson, parking is an ongoing issue on campus, so the space could be turned into additional parking for buildings on lower campus. 

Augustana community members have also submitted ideas to turn this space into a new academic building. No plans are currently in place. 

For now, physical education classes use the old tennis courts, and tennis players benefit from the new tennis courts.

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