IOWA DERECHO 2020

Westfield Tennis Club in Cedar Rapids may be closed a year after derecho damage, owner says

'We have really had a time of it'

A tennis ball is seen among water leaked through the roof at Westfield Tennis in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 20
A tennis ball is seen among water leaked through the roof at Westfield Tennis in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A private indoor tennis facility in southwest Cedar Rapids was so significantly damaged by the Aug. 10 derecho storm that it likely will be closed for at least a year.

“It blew out the side of the building worse than the side you can see from 18th Avenue. Two or three of the main steel beams have to be replaced. We know that for sure,” said Chuck Schillig, who co-owns Westfield Tennis Club, 3511 18th Ave. SW, with his wife, Elsie Schillig, and his brother, Don Schillig

“Virtually everything was damaged. Heaters and air-conditioners were knocked off their spots.

“The roof was lifted on the north end of the office and, after this past week of rain, everything is drenched — all over the floor and the desks. All the ceiling tile fell out.”

Before the Aug. 10 storm, Schillig said the roof above the office had been damaged by hail.

“We were having some leaks and called the roofer to check it,” Schillig said. “He said we needed a whole new roof and the insurance company had started to pay me before the storm hit.”

Schillig said structural engineers have been evaluating the damage and what will be needed to restore the 41,000-square-foot building and equipment.

“The sides have to come off all around the building,” Schillig added. “We have special insulation for tennis that people cannot hit balls through it.

“It has a special design and all of that will have to be replaced. In my estimation, basically it’s a total loss, but the insurance company think it can be put back together.”

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As if the building and roof damage from the derecho and the rain was not enough, Schillig said someone threw a brick through a window the day after the storm.

“They stole the hard drive from the computer in the office and a bunch of other stuff,” Schillig said.

“We have really had a time of it.”

The tennis club, which opened in 1976. has about 250 members. After losing phone service, the club posted a notice on its internet home page that it was closed until further notice and member dues and fees will not be collected.

Schillig said there are about 185 active memberships and he’s worried about how many will wait for the club’s physical recovery.

“In my mind, I honestly think that 20 percent of the people won’t come back, either for age or they have started playing tennis somewhere else,” he said.

“There are leagues that may play in Iowa City or at Elmcrest Country Club.”

Micki Schillig Feldmann, Chuck and Elsie’s daughter, was the inspiration for Westfield Tennis Club. Feldmann was a three-time All-American at San Diego State University, where she reached the first NCAA women’s singles final.

She played on the professional tour for three seasons, reaching No. 81 in the world rankings.

Feldmann has been a massage therapist at Westfield.

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