Southwest Tennis Center: What the feasibility studys showing so far

indoortennis
(Bird’s-eye view “schematic” of proposed tennis center)

The idea of turning the six tennis courts west of Southwest Pool into an indoor tennis center is still in the early exploration stage.

But that’s the stage at which it’s important to talk things through, a lot, and about 50 people showed up to do that on Tuesday night at Chief Sealth International High School.

Lisa Corbin is the community member leading the campaign. She explained how the idea originated four years ago – the backstory’s on this fact sheet – and that a city Small and Simple grant was paying for a feasibility study by Jack Kamrath of Tennis Planning Consultants.

Kamrath said he’s in town to get the next part of that study going and expects to have it finished by summer’s end. The next phase will look at the potential market for the center and will focus on finding out how many people play tennis “from time to time” in order to gauge potential demand, which then would determine how many courts are needed. He’s already done two mapping surveys, one to determine how many people live within 15 minutes’ driving distance and how many live within 18 minutes. Those numbers, he said, range from 360,000 people to nearly 515,000.

Building this kind of structure, he said, would take about six months once permits are issued. The site (formerly part of the Denny International Middle School campus, still owned by Seattle Public Schools) already has power, water, sewer, drainage infrastructure in place; along with the courts, which would need to be refinished, it would have restrooms and storage areas. So far, Kamrath said, discussions that he and Corbin have had with the city have not turned up any major speedbumps.

Questions included what the center would cost. As noted in the FAQ sheet made available, it’s estimated to be around $4 million. It’s expected that would come “from multiple public and private sources” (though NOT school-district funds). And it would be self-sustaining once operational, bringing in money from lessons, court fees, and league play. It would likely be managed by a concessionaire, much the same way that Premier manages city golf courses. Too soon to say how all this would balance out with school use. And if you are recalling that the site was mentioned as a potential future elementary school, the FAQ says the district has told the group they don’t envision school construction on the site “for at least the next 28 years.”

(Read the full FAQ here.)

Watch here for word of the next community meeting and other updates.

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This article, Southwest Tennis Center: What the feasibility studys showing so far, first appeared on Westwood West Seattle Blog.


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