Major Renovations Scheduled for Pomona Tennis Complex

Pomona’s tennis complex is expected to undergo some major renovations before the season begins next semester.Lights will be added to the four courts that currently do not have any, and a small building near the courts will be expanded for use as a team meeting room and storage space. In addition, all eight courts will be resurfaced, the windscreens that surround the courts will be replaced, a lit walkway from campus to the court will be installed, and benches will be added for spectators.Pomona Assistant Vice President for Advancement John Norton, who was involved in fundraising for this project, said calls for this renovation began at the end of last year.“There was input from students, input from the coaches, and from parents as well, all pushing for some improvements to the tennis courts,” Norton said. ”At the same time, President Oxtoby had come to [the] same conclusion that we needed to do some upgrades [to the tennis complex].”Over the summer, the school began looking into the biggest additions and changes and what they would require, and hired a company to determine how much the renovation would cost. The construction, which the school hopes to complete over winter break, is expected to cost $750,000.According to Norton, Pomona will not go ahead with renovations until all of the necessary funds have been collected. The college has already contributed $250,000 for the project, but Norton and his office must obtain the remaining $500,000 through donations.The largest donation thus far was made by Pomona tennis team alumnus Ned Shadek ’82, who made an offer to match any donation for up to $200,000.“The courts are certainly a lot better than they were when I was there, but I think they’re a little tired,” Shadek said. In addition, he said that upgrading the courts increases the likelihood of Pomona holding the Division 3 tennis tournament at some point.Shadek said one of the reasons he decided to make the large donation was because of how grateful he was both to the school and the tennis program.“I had a great time playing tennis at Pomona and going to school there, it’s part and parcel of who I am, and it helped me get to where I am today,” Shadek said. “I hope other people can have the same experience I had.”Though they concede that coming up with the remainder of the funding will be difficult, Shadek and Norton are both optimistic that the project will go ahead as scheduled.Siobhan Finicane PO ’10, captain of Pomona’s women’s tennis team, hopes this is true.“It’s nice for Pomona to recognize how strong our team is, and how necessary it is, even for us just to get lights,” Finicane said. “It would be really nice to be able to spend my last semester here with a better facility.”Men’s Team Coach Belletto, who also played an important role in garnering support for the renovations, is also optimistic that the money will be raised in time.“The object is for the current team and current players to enjoy using this new facility,” Belletto said.Belletto said the minor addition of lighting to the four unlit courts would yield significant benefits.“When we first start out, it’s getting dark…which means that early on in the year, I’ll have to be in communication with our women’s coach [Ann Lebedeff] so we can creatively figure out ways around using the courts,” he said. ”We have [to] plan not just when we practice but specifically what we’re doing in practice which can impact how you prepare for a season and also impacts the number of kids we can have on our team as well.”The lack of lighting on the courts also affects match scheduling. This need to schedule games early in the day often interferes with classes, and students often have to miss class or try to schedule matches around them.“We try our absolute best to minimize missed class time…but with the way our scheduling works and the number of teams we play outside this region, there are certain times where it’s just challenging,” Belletto said.Belletto believes that all of these changes will help both tennis teams and the rest of the student body.“There are so many people who use our tennis courts—from the community, from the college, for PE classes—its one of the most used facilities on campus from an athletic facility standpoint…For all those reasons, I think [the renovation] is a really nice thing.”

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