By Emily Harris
The Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium is not the only athletic facility on campus that has seen recent changes. The outdoor tennis center was renovated over the summer for the first time since the facility was built.
Renovations began in May, and the coaching staff, the athletics director, and the associate athletic director helped to finish the work in August. Although no structural changes were made there were significant alterations made to both the interior and exterior of the building.
Two new scoreboards and a sound system were installed by the outdoor tennis courts. Inside the tennis center part of the space was transformed into a lounge for the team to share. New paint and furniture were accompanied by a TV, an Xbox and a ping pong table. “We wanted to create an environment where our scholar-athletes could hang out and call their own,” said Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams David Donn. “We wanted to make the building a place that was unique to almost any other facility in the country and I believe we’ve accomplished that…all while continuing to honor the rich tradition and history within each program.”
“We are excited about what these changes mean for our student-athletes, prospective recruits, and for faculty, staff, and community members who use the facility,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Bryan Matthews. He attributed all of the improvements that were made to Donn. “It really has become a place where members of the team can hang out and enjoy themselves when not practicing or competing,” Matthews said.
Members of Washington College’s tennis teams agree that the space has become a place they want to spend time in. Junior Marielle McIntyre, co-captain of the women’s team, said, “Now you can’t really pass by Schottland without a teammate being in there enjoying the new space.”
Senior Emily Evans agreed that the space has become more welcoming since the renovations were completed. “It’s really relaxing being in there now that the walls aren’t covered in pictures, and it’s actually nice to sit in there before practice and catch up with the team,” she said. “We have access to the facility by using our student IDs to swipe in, which is great for when we are trying to find a quiet place to study.”
“I spend more of my time there than I do in my dorm,” said freshman Krista Filiopoulis, showing that the Schottland tennis center has become more of a home base for the team than ever before.
Fundraising and donations to the tennis program paid for the project. The outdoor tennis center is named for Ellen Bordley Schottland whose family has a longstanding connection with the WC tennis program. Her relatives Peter, Steve, and Buck Schottland had a positive response to the renovations, and said, “Our beloved mom would be so thrilled that so many wonderful young people have had the joy of playing her favorite sport in her favorite town.”
When asked what these renovations mean for the future of the tennis teams, many said that the new facility is a selling point when hosting recruits who are considering joining the WC community. Sophomore Matt Katz said, “The team is definitely going to continue to benefit from Schottland because it’s not only nice for current players, but really impresses recruits when they come to visit. Not many Division III schools have a facility as nice as Schottland, and I think a lot of kids recognize that right away when they see it.”
Evans said, “It’s also a great place to bring our recruits when they have a little free time in between meetings because it has a home-like feel.”
“I think the team will benefit so much from these renovations when it comes to recruiting,” said McIntyre. “Recruits on campus are always complimenting our new renovations and I think it definitely makes our program a lot more attractive to [prospective] student athletes.”