Tennis center coming along
Published 3:53 am Thursday, January 24, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They are the unmistakable signs of progress.
Anyone taking a peak at the grounds of McCluskey Tennis Center can see, and hear, the work being done as the facility receives a massive makeover.
While one group of workers are installing six asphalt tennis courts, others are busy creating a brand-new pro shop that is replacing the previous facility.
It’s all part of a renovation project that was approved last year, with funds coming from the Callaway Foundation, the Chattahoochee Valley Tennis Association, and SPLOST.
Bill Champion, the head professional at McCluskey Tennis Center, is the point man for the project.
He’s at the facility each day dealing with questions that may arise, while also doing his best to keep everything running smoothly while waiting on the new courts to be completed.
Champion expects the new courts to be completed sometime in March, although as he pointed out “it’s all weather dependent.”
While work on the pro shop has been ongoing for weeks, the construction of the new courts began last week.
Signature Tennis is responsible for installing the new courts, as well as the lights and gazebos that will provide a respite from the sun.
Principle-Williams Construction is building the pro shop.
The facility will not only have a new look, but a new name as well.
It will be called the McCluskey Tennis Complex, and the club house will be the C. Leon Pitts Tennis Center.
While standing on what will be one of the new courts, Champion said “it’ll be one of the nicest tennis clubs around. Aesthetically, it may be the nicest.”
The two-story club house will have a deck that will surround the building, providing a view of every one of the courts.
“When you come down that road and see the shop, it’s going to be wow,” Champion said. “That’s the first thing you’ll see.”
The new hard courts will be in the same location as the old courts, which had been around for decades.
“The city came out and took out the old light poles for us,” Champion said. “And the county came in and chewed up all the old asphalt and hauled it off.”
With a blank canvas to work with, Signature Tennis arrived last week and began the process of creating the new courts.
Enough space is being left between some of the courts to put in the gazebos, and new LED lights are also being installed.
“(The courts) will be in batteries of two,” Champion said. “We’ll have a little bit of a wider space for a gazebo between the two. It’ll be six brand-new hard courts, and new lights.”
Champion is familiar with the work done by Signature Tennis, and he believes McCluskey Tennis Center is in great hands.
“This is who I wanted to get it,” Champion said. “That’s all they do are tennis courts. They built the ones at Cooper Creek (in Columbus), the huge addition.”
Champion has had plenty of questions about when the new courts will be done, and he has been assuring people that they should be ready sometime in March.
Until then, folks will have to make do with less.
The courts are particularly busy at the moment since high-school tennis season is getting started.
The Troup and LaGrange teams are both using the tennis center.
Troup used to have its own courts, but they were removed to make room for the new indoor facility that’s being built at the school.
“The only hard thing is juggling the two high-school tennis teams, and trying to get everybody here and trying to keep 90 percent of them happy,” Champion said.