No plans in place for replacement tennis facilities

The UCD Tennis Club face an uncertain second semester as plans to build a multistorey car park on campus tennis courts look set to go ahead in 2014.

Although the club was told in May 2013 that the car park will be built on the campus tennis courts, lack of correspondence from the University leaves them at a loss as to where they will practice in the near future.

A spokesperson for UCD said, “The site for the commuting facility was chosen in line with the master plan for the development of the sport and student precinct.

“The enabling works for the new commuting facility have begun, but the main contractor has not yet been appointed. As an interim measure, UCD is working together with the tennis club to arrange access to facilities.”

The University Observer understands that issues concerning the sewerage system underneath the courts has delayed works somewhat. This delay has resulted in the Tennis Club still having access to the courts until December 2013, while no official answer has been forthcoming in relation to the long-term availability of facilities on campus from the University.

Speaking to the University Observer about the possible location of the new facilities, the Ladies’ Captain of the Tennis Club, Alison Clarke, said they currently have no promises about new facilities on campus.

“There was a lot of talk that we will have courts in UCD, but we have no idea where this could be. We also heard that we will just have to go to a club after Christmas; to somewhere like Donnybrook or Lansdowne.”

When asked by the University Observer, the University did not comment on whether or not plans existed to replace the facilities commandeered for the car park site.

The tennis courts are scheduled to be handed over to the construction company at the start of 2014 and the club will likely have to move to a local public club with the associated costs, both financially and logistically.

Speaking in relation to the added costs incurred for renting such premises, Clarke said they have been told that ‘the grant for each sports club is the same’ and that there will be ‘no more funding from the college’ to subsidise costs incurred.

Clarke feels fortunate that the move is taking place in semester two due to the possible effects such a move could have had on the clubs membership numbers if this move had been forced through earlier.

“I think we were lucky that it is the second half of the year. It would have been very hard if we didn’t have courts during the Sports Expo and have to say ‘Oh, but there aren’t any tennis courts.’ That definitely would have affected [membership].”