Award Winner - May 2013
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Vande Poel - Heeringa Stadium Courts Etheridge Tennis Complex, Hope College

Holland, Michigan

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

GMB Architecture + Engineering in Holland, Mich.

Project Cost: $2.2 million

Quick Tour:

  • 12 post tensioned concrete tennis courts
  • 350-foot spectator viewing spine with three shade structures
  • Seating for 600
  • Entry plaza
  • Patio areas

A $2.2 million tennis complex, which was designed both for collegiate and community use, is the newest addition to Hope College in Holland, Mich.—the design for which maximizes the facility for use by student athletes, a summer-long tennis academy and open community play.

The idea to create a new tennis complex—funded by private donors and a grant from the USTA—came about in 2009 when the school was in search of a location for a new outdoor tennis development. As it turns out, the city of Holland had an unused corner of property that was adjacent to the college's existing indoor tennis facility and outdoor athletic fields. As part of the agreement, the city deeded the land to the college, while the college agreed to make the courts available for public and community use.

The 12 tennis courts are laid out in two sets of six, divided by a central elevated viewing spine. Each set of six courts is broken down into batteries of two with low partial fences, which help ball control, while keeping the fences held short allows for six contiguous courts. This allows for a team competition on one set of six courts, while leaving the other set available for public use.

Meanwhile, the facility's central spine offers an ideal viewing location for fans, with permanent stadium-style seating and sculptural sun shades. At each end and in the center of the spine are connection stairs that allow players and coaches to pass through from the court level to the viewing level quickly. Under the spine is an open-air but sheltered player area that has benches, drinking fountains, water filling stations and access to each court.

The aesthetics of the new complex tie into the concept of the surrounding athletic campus. Exterior materials of brick and stone were chosen to create a rich collegiate experience.

And, remaining fiscally responsible with an eye toward the future was part of the design for the tennis complex. For instance, in between each batter of courts is a 4-foot concrete trench. This not only helped in keeping each post-tensioned concrete slab of a manageable size, but provided the opportunity for a storm trench drain, and an area for future outdoor lighting to be installed at each court. Also, the complex was built on a raised bed of sand that contains a significant drainage system. What's more, an underground stormwater detention system was used as part of the drainage system.

Completed in June 2012, the facility was dedicated on Sept. 22, 2012, and featured an exhibition game with former touring tennis pro Todd Martin, who at one time, was ranked fourth in the world.

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