Last winter, GW officials told The Hatchet that the construction of the Mount Vernon campus was supposed to be completed by the summer of 2004. But varsity tennis players are still without a true home as the fall season is set to begin Friday.
While construction continues, the GW’s men’s and women’s tennis teams are forced to practice at the Regency Sport and Health Club in McLean, Va. – a 20-minute drive from Foggy Bottom.
“It’s frustrating and just a pain,” sophomore Will Timmons said.
For the men’s and women’s teams, the first portion of the fall season consists of tournaments held at other universities. But on Oct. 8, the men’s team is set to face off against Georgetown at home.
Athletic department officials would not comment on whether the facility will be ready in time for the match. But if construction at Mount Vernon is not completed by then, the Colonials will be forced to host the Hoyas at Montclair Country Club in Mountclair, Va.
The Mount Vernon Tennis Facility has been plagued by problems since opening in 2001.
In 2002, less than a year after opening, irregular bumps formed on the playing surface of one of the courts, rendering it unplayable by NCAA standards.
This “curling” occurred because the facility may have been opened too hastily, without allowing certain concrete sections of the playing surface to set and harden properly.
Then, in the spring of 2003, the facility’s air-compressed bubble that covered the courts was removed due to drainage problems caused by inclement weather.
All of these problems have left players questioning GW’s commitment to building a top-notch facility.
“I feel like GW didn’t pay enough and didn’t go the extra yard to get the most quality construction,” Timmons said.
Despite Timmons’ frustration, GW officials vow to be patient so that problems that plagued the facility during the past three years do not arise again. Although the courts have been resurfaced with concrete, workers must deal with precipitation that is no longer blocked by an air-compressed bubble.
“Right now the concrete applications are moisture sensitive,” said Tony Vecchione, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities. “Every time it rains, the surface softens. Even if it’s nice the next day, it doesn’t mean that the court will dry properly.”
GW Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz added that even though the courts have been delayed by weather, he is willing to wait.
“I don’t care how long it takes, I want to get it done right,” Kvancz said.
When the facility is finally completed, it will feature 11 courts, six of which will be lit.
This article appeared in the September 13, 2004 issue of the Hatchet.