How to Ace Your Tennis Court Replacement

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This is part  of a four-part series on landscape architecture and athletic field design. Other blogs in this series include:
Synthetic Turf Basics by Erik Spring
GIS Field Analysis and the Science Behind Athletic Field Design by Dave Peterson
How to Align Your Fields with Soccer Regulations by Andy Patton

by Carol Henry, PLA, ASLA, REFP

Replacement of an old, outdated, crumbling tennis court can come in several options:

Total Replacement. Completely demolish and start over with a fresh, new post-tensioned court. This is the highest cost, but cleanest, easiest to construct and longest lasting.

Patch, asphalt overlay, and resurface. This keeps the existing court and fencing in place, and costs significantly less than a total replacement, but problems with cracking in the original base will eventually transfer through to the new court. This option costs significantly less than a total replacement but shortens the lifespan of your court surface and your investment. Plan on another overlay in around 15 years.

Build a new post-tensioned court on top of your existing court. This option keeps most of the existing court in place, lowering the demolition cost and leaving the original court to function as a stable base. This causes issues, though. The new court will be 8-12-inches higher than the original court, and it will also have a wider area of exterior disruption in order to get the new courts installed. Plan on adjusting the walks that lead to the courts to account for the higher court surface.

The tennis courts at Utah Park are ADA compliant with direct access to courts,

The tennis courts at Utah Park are ADA compliant with direct access to courts,

Accessibility and ADA Compliance

The 2010 ADA Standards want each court to have direct access into that court,  not crossing any another court to get there. Few existing courts have this level of access, which will mean you must plan for additional access paths and gates into the courts.

Also, courts must be able to be accessed through an ADA-compliant route. Existing courts that only have stair access or non-compliant pathways will need to have improved access routes.

 

Other Important Considerations

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Will you need visitor stand viewing? This involves providing nearby bleachers that are either a part of the court, or divided by a shorter fence (+/- 42” height in front of the stands). Don't forget to add ADA and companion seating with good lines of sight.

Who should be involved in the decision-making process? Is there a tennis coach or tennis club who should be involved? Does the park or school district have lessons or specific schedules to be considered?

 

Little Things Make Great Courts

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Resources

The American Sports Builders Association has put together a terrific manual: Tennis Courts a Construction & Maintenance Manual 2015

Most important - make sure your tennis court contractor is a Certified Tennis Court Builder!