Kiwanis Tennis Center

Tempe, Arizona

Asphalt courts at the Kiwanis Tennis Center in Tempe, Arizona, were originally installed in 1975 and needed a complete makeover. The courts were cracked and warped from decades of use under the hot desert sun. The courts were also close together, making it difficult for spectators to get near the action.

The City of Tempe needed high-tech renovations to the facility, so it reached out to Olsson to make it happen.

Now, the public tennis complex features 15 courts surfaced with the same cushioned acrylic used by the venue for the Australian Open; a double-sided, 12-foot rebound wall for warm-ups; and a digital video system that can capture the action on every court.

We engineered post-tension concrete construction, which is key to reducing maintenance and extending the structural life of the courts to 50-plus years. The reinforcement technique greatly diminishes, or even eliminates, cracking. We also incorporated additional space in our design for walkways and shaded spectator seating, features city officials identified as essential to their plan to host more programming, events, and regional competitions at the center.

Our design also featured strategic fencing that members of the local tennis community requested. We dropped the fence height along the middle of the courts to improve sight lines and incorporated 45-degree “California corners” to help deflect errant balls back toward players.

Other features we recommended that were adopted were trench drains, quick coupler connections for easy cleaning, and weatherproof outlets for speakers and charging cell phones. We also engineered an LED lighting system that required fewer poles yet doubled the brightness on the courts.