The Gustavus campus underwent many changes this past summer. One change that is still underway is the Swanson Tennis Center upgrade.
The Swanson Tennis Center is quite noticeable on campus due to its large indoor tennis arena. The tennis center’s six courts are covered by a huge white dome. While it may not look all that different from past years, the bubble was replaced just last month. It had been over twenty years since the dome was last changed out.
“The bubble was last replaced in 1998, when it was taken down by the tornado that came through town,” Head Women’s Tennis coach Jon Carlson said. The bubble was nearly taken down by severe weather again just a few years ago.
“Two years ago, the bubble almost came down due to a snowstorm. That incident, and a few other close calls made it clear that the bubble needed to be replaced,” Carlson said. School officials from all different areas of expertise agreed that the bubble needed to be changed out.
“Neal Hagberg was the main fundraiser, and athletic director Tom Brown kept things moving forward; but Travis Jordan over at the Physical Plant was intricately involved in getting the project started, and continues to keep things moving along,” Carlson said. Hagberg was critical in getting the project rolling over the summer due to his role as director of Gustavus’ Tennis and Life Camp. The work needed to begin in the summertime to allow for upcoming fall tennis tournaments.
“We are getting a new bubble,” the Gustavus webpage for the Swanson Tennis Center said. “The courts will be open to the public beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 30 if all goes as planned.” This original plan was sped up to ensure the tennis center was ready for games as soon as possible.
“We have some pretty major tournaments being played on the courts this fall, so the timeline has been accelerated to finish closer to the middle of this month. That is where Travis Jordan has been key to this project, keeping it ahead of schedule,” Carlson said. The Physical Plant staff has been working with contractors to make sure the tennis center is ready for these games. Work on the 44,000 square foot tennis center was not only limited to its exterior dome. Upgrades were made to the inside of the arena as well.
“Besides the new bubble, the courts are being resurfaced inside and new lighting is being installed. Further down the road, there are plans to re-do the locker room area, add offices for the coaches, and make changes to the aesthetics and branding on the inside,” Carlson said.
The upgrades currently being made may be just the beginning for the Swanson Tennis Center. Gustavus tennis players and their coaches have been excited about the changes being made to their facility and the additional upgrades that may still be in the works.
Gustavus has been undergoing many physical changes as of late. Because of the recent close calls relating to the weather, the tennis bubble replacement was one that needed to happen as soon as possible. If plans are kept on schedule, the Swanson Tennis Center will be open to the public within a few weeks.