In addition to its current facilities, UT’s tennis teams will start using the Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center, an $8.8 million indoor facility that opened last Wednesday at Steiner Ranch.
The center has more indoor tennis courts than any other club in the Central Texas area. The 50,000 square foot complex also includes four outdoor tennis courts, indoor hitting areas where players can video their swings, locker rooms and many other state-of-the-art luxuries. The facility is a private business available to the UT tennis program, although it is owned and operated by the UT Golf Club.
Tennis director Steve Bryan, who works at the facility that leads a program committed to elevating individual tennis performance through expert guidance, said the new facility will benefit the UT tennis teams.
“In the years past, if there was team visiting UT to play a match from out of town and it began to rain, they would have to drive to Houston or San Antonio to play that match,” Bryan said. “Having this indoor facility will allow UT to play their matches indoor during inclement weather.”
With this indoor facility, the University of Texas is now eligible to host a NCAA championship. Before this complex was built, UT lacked a back-up facility, making the Longhorns ineligible to host.
Women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky said the Weller family provided for the facility, in addition to UT athletics. She said UT Golf Club managers Mike Myers and Bill Duvall agreed to work with the UT athletics department to fund the construction.
“These facilities take a lot of cooperation and collaboration to construct, especially when you’re placing it in the context of an area that is a private business,” Plonsky said. “There were lots of dealings that had to go on between the owners and the city to build this particular complex. We’re very fortunate that all parties were able to collaborate in order to get it done.”
The UT golf club signed a licensing agreement with UT in order to use the University’s name and trademarked longhorn inside the facility.
The facility will be utilized when necessary by UT tennis teams. The rest of the time the courts will be available to the families and members who schedule and pay for court time.
Alex Hilliard, history senior and member of the UT men’s tennis team, said the project will mean a lot to the tennis program.
“The fact that we now have these courts at our disposal is a huge thing,” Hilliard said. “It’s a great facility and I think it will definitely help to attract a better fan base to our team.”
Printed on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 as: $8.8 million indoor tennis facility opens for UT team, paying members