The Need:

Recruiting top level high school tennis players with outstanding academic records is highly competitive – made more challenging today because many high schools have higher quality facilities than SAU.

Asphalt courts, especially in Michigan, are hard to maintain demanding a lot of time and intensive labor. The cost to repair cracks and redo courts has risen steadily over the past few years. Covering the many cracks in the asphalt needs to be done at least every two years at a cost of approximately $25,000 each time it is done.

The current facility has six asphalt courts; four of those courts are 20 years old. Numerous cracks have formed over the years and even with constant care and repair, they are distracting and make play difficult. This will only get worse over time.

SAU is at the bottom of our conference (Crossroads League) in terms of our facility with only six courts for teams to practice and compete. The top university in our conference (in terms of facilities) has 12 courts, one has 10, one nine, and four others have eight.

The Solution:

Our plan is to construct eight post-tensioned concrete courts with improved viewing and shaded areas. This will accomplish three important objectives:

  1. Eliminate the need for constant crack repair – post-tensioned concrete has been demonstrated to last 30 or more years without cracking, even in Michigan’s challenging climate.
  2. Make SAU’s tennis complex more comparable with other schools in the conference and enhance recruiting efforts with new state-of-the-art tennis courts.
  3. Expand our facility to eight courts providing our athletes the needed courts to better facilitate practice, competitions, and tournaments. It will also deliver a great tennis experience for both players and spectators.

Community Impact

Current Community Impact Potential Additional Impact
Open for community play any time not used for varsity matches or practices (between 4-6:30 weekdays during spring and fall seasons) Will increase the amount of court space available for public play by decreasing time needed for team practices
Lighted courts are the best in Jackson and used frequently by community members Plans for expansion of courts include making at least one pod of courts lighted for community evening play maintaining best in Jackson status
Adult tennis tournament, the SAU Open, is run each year in June Adding two more courts will make SAU a likely site for other Jackson area tennis tournaments during the summer such as the Sidmore Open
The Spring Arbor Junior Open is offered each July for Junior High and Senior High School participants. There were 40 participants from Jackson County in 2015 With additional courts, this tournament can be expanded to include a doubles division giving many more youth the opportunity to experience tournament play in Jackson County
The Western High School Men’s tennis team used the SAU courts for a tournament they organized in 2015 Having 8 courts will enhance the University’s ability to host similar tournaments in the future for other schools in Jackson County

Expanded and improved tennis facilities can open doors for public tennis clinics and lessons to encourage youth and adults alike to participate in the sport, promoting physical activity and better health