Work to Build New Tennis Courts StartsBy A. Arif Husain
Amherst Alley sports a newfound airiness along its fraternity house strip - an openness whose nature is not all at once apparent, if not for the telltale bulldozers scattered in its midst.
In place of the well-hidden fenced tennis courts that once occupied the area just beyond the steps of Kappa Sigma, a cordoned-off field of tilled rubble, lined with the sawed-off stumps of long standing shrubbery, now stands for residents from Theta Delta Chi to Burton-Conner House to look upon. The courts are no more.
The upheaval of the area is expected to be completed in about eight weeks, according to Jeff Hamilton, the men's tennis coach. The rubble will be replaced with six new lighted courts -four doubles courts and two singles courts - a significant improvement over the five unlit courts that were demolished.
The courts were in "such disrepair" that "recreational play was marginal, anyway," Hamilton said.
Two of the five were "almost unplayable," said Jim Taylor '63, assistant women's tennis coach. Fissures along the play area, caused by weather changes, were so prevalent that the courts were on the verge of being unsafe, Taylor said.
The cracking was "unrepairable," he said.
16 courts will soon be available
Including the four indoor courts within the J. B. Carr Indoor Tennis Facility, there are now a total of 10 courts available in that area of west campus for use by physical education classes, varsity teams, and the general public. After the renovation project is complete, there will be 16 courts available.
Hamilton did not expect much of an inconvenience during the renovation period since daily practices of men's and women's teams are usually staggered in their times.
Taylor expected the largest potential difficulty to occur during the Rolex New England Division III regional tennis tournament, which MIT hosts next weekend. He also presumed some difficulty with PE courses.
"We didn't play on the courts because they weren't in very good shape," said Nora A. Humphrey '98, a member of the women's varsity tennis team. The renovations should open up more court space for practices and meets.
Despite the inconvenience, Hamilton said it is "better for the community to have the project go forward."
The five outdoor courts that are being replaced were built roughly the same time as the six that are currently still in use, Taylor said. A different contractor was used, and the construction may not have been of the same quality, he said.