Denver tennis facility nears final approval

Photo: The proposed Denver Tennis Park site layout presented for public comment on March 24th

We told you about a proposed new tennis center at South High a year ago and now the project appears closer to fruition than ever.

A Denver sport that toils without a great deal of public visibility is DU men’s and women’s tennis. Historically, Denver has had both singles and doubles players ranked in the top 10 nationally and has a proud tradition of success. However, men’s head coach Ricardo Rubio and women’s head coach Christian Thompson have been fighting an uphill recruiting battle armed with a small and aging outdoor Stapleton Tennis Center with no on-campus indoor courts. Despite success with Summit League titles, DU has been slipping nationally in the recruiting battles.

It looks like DU tennis will be rewarded for their patience and steady success as the Denver Tennis Park moves to its final phase. On March 24th, there was a public hearing and a presentation made to the public regarding the proposed facility at South High School, immediately north of DU’s campus. The park will be located at the southeastern corner of Franklin Street with I-25 immediately to the south.

The facility will feature eight outdoor courts and seven indoor courts. The project is being privately funded by donors and will be used to the benefit of the public and the University of Denver.

According to documents, the public benefit will be a year-round district tennis venue accessible to Denver Public School (DPS) students, provide a venue for DPS coaches to improve on and off-season training and competitive opportunities for DPS tennis teams – during and after school, access for middle school and elementary schools students, and public outreach.

The key drivers for the University of Denver cited in the presentation include guaranteed access to indoor/outdoor courts which meet NCAA Division I requirements, great proximity to campus, practices, competitions, and tournaments for men and women at one venue. There will also be many opportunities for affiliation and collaboration with DPS and Denver youth programs.

While no final date was given for the start of construction, pending site plan changes will include final approvals following public input and will include partner sign-off. This process will involve the Board of Education, The University of Denver, and the private donors/partners to the project.

This is very exciting on a number of levels. This is a first for the University as it continues to address cramped space on campus and address inadequate athletic facilities for tennis. This will help ensure that they remain relevant and successful in their Division I ambitions. There was no space on campus for a facility of this scale. Additionally, this dovetails with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp’s vision to see the DU campus and community more closely integrated with the Denver community at large.

We’ll keep you updated on the project once construction activities are approved and as they break ground on the facility.