Tennis courts at University of Iowa to get needed upgrades

Courts join other athletics facilities needing fix

Ben Rosen with the Gerard Loglo Tennis Academy in Boynton Beach, Fla., warms up at the University of Iowa's Hawkeye Tenn
Ben Rosen with the Gerard Loglo Tennis Academy in Boynton Beach, Fla., warms up at the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center in Iowa City on Friday, July 13, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The 12 outdoor tennis courts at the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex have suffered numerous cracks, depressions and divots from years of wear, harsh winter weather and sun exposure — demanding repairs later this year.

Construction at the UI complex — which debuted in 2006 on the Far West end of campus, beyond the UI Athletics Hall of Fame — is expected between mid-August and early October, according to Wendy Moorehead, a spokeswoman for UI Facilities Management.

The courts — which are used by the Hawkeye men’s and women’s tennis teams, as well as students and the public — are organized in two rows of six, Moorehead said, so the work will happen in such a way to ensure at least half remain open during construction.

The courts join several other UI athletics facilities needing repairs — including Kinnick Stadium, which is getting new turf this summer just two years after it was installed as part of an $89 million north end zone renovation. Damage from extreme flash flooding in August that compelled the Kinnick repairs totaled about $580,000.

That project remains on track, according to Moorehead, who said subsurface work wrapped in June. Crews will begin laying the new turf July 8 — with completion expected by Aug. 1.

UI also is replacing air handling units serving the Big Ten and NCAA championship-level pool in its Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The system — including piping, pumps, and controls — has proved “unreliable” and “in a state of deterioration.”

The university expects to spend $5 million to $6 million on a replacement system for the pool, which debuted with the opening of the new wellness center in 2010 and hosts collegiate events, along with those for regional and national clubs.


The tennis court upgrades aren’t unexpected, according to Moorehead, who said UI athletics and recreation services maintenance funds will cover the anticipated $150,000 expense.

Construction plans reveal at least four large cracks on the courts, along with more superficial cracks, depressions from benches and bleachers, and rust spots — caused by iron particles that oxidize more rapidly with moisture, according to the Global Sports and Tennis Design Group.

Although those plans go into more detail about how each problem should be addressed, Moorehead said — in general terms — the tennis courts are being recoated. That typically happens every five to seven years because of weather and wear and tear, she said.

The project went out for bid last week, with proposals due back by July 24.

The facility hosted the 2008 and 2018 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Championships; the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Tennis Championships; and the 2015 Big Ten Men’s Singles and Doubles Championships.

The university last summer also partnered with the U.S. Tennis Association to host the Old Capital Futures tournament — the first professional tennis tournament in Iowa since 1978 and the first-ever in Eastern Iowa.

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