USTA Recognizes Collegiate Tennis Complex for Award
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
Collegiate High School has long featured one of the top tennis programs in the state – both girls and boys – and now the local private school has one of the leading facilities in the country to show off those premier athletes and coaches.
The school was notified recently that the Williams-Bollettieri Tennis Center has been chosen to receive a 2013 United States Tennis Association Outstanding Facility Award.
The award program was established to stimulate high standards in tennis facilities and to recognize those facilities whose efforts make such a positive statement about the vitality of the game.
The awards were presented during the Technical Committee meeting at the USTA’s semi-annual gathering at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Sept. 1 in conjunction with the U.S. Open’s two-week run in New York.
A commemorative plaque and an outdoor sign will be given to Collegiate for posting at the facility, which is located on the Robins Campus off Blair Road in Goochland County.
“Believe it or not, we didn’t submit [something to the USTA],” said Scott Carson, Collegiate’s director of facilities management and construction. “It was submitted by Tennis Courts, Inc., which was our tennis court installer.
“They asked us for permission to do it so we assisted in their effort to apply for the award. Lo and behold. the awards came out and we got notified. We were very happy because we think it’s a world-class facility.
“There’s really not too much like it in this neck of the woods, particularly at the independent-school level. You have to go to the country club and college level to find facilities like that. So we’re very proud that we could design and build a facility of this quality.”
CHA Sports, where Carson worked before he took his current job, designed the roughly $3 million project. Some of that money came from teaching guru Nick Bollettieri and Collegiate supporter Johnny Williams.
The facility, which opened in 2010, contains 13 hard courts, one of which is a center court with seating for 100, and a small building that houses a team room, restrooms, kitchen, storage room, office and a central meeting place. The courts have a cushion acrylic coat.
“We have two banks of four [courts] and two banks of two, and the championship court,” said Carson.
“It has been very well received [by players and coaches]. We built those banks of four primarily for practice purposes. From a coaching standpoint, you can stand there and coach four courts at a time, which is really beneficial.
“Our coaching staff was involved in that effort. We wanted to make it as user-friendly as possible.”
The girls use the facility during the fall season, while the boys take over in the spring.
The Prep League tournament has been held at the facility, as has the Virginia Independent Schools tournament.
In addition to the tennis complex, the 177-acre grounds includes the Sam Newell Field for baseball, a softball field, 10 rectangle fields — one of which has a synthetic surface – for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, and a 3.1-mile cross-country course.
An athletic building is in the middle of the complex and contains facilities for strength and conditioning, a training room, an indoor synthetic turf room and multiple locker rooms for Collegiate and visiting teams.
The Robins Campus is about 10 minutes from the main campus on Mooreland Road and there is room for expansion, although nothing is in the pipeline at the moment, Carson said.