The Biszantz Family Tennis Courts complex at Claremont McKenna College recently won the United States Tennis Association’s Outstanding Facility Award, its third award for design. USTA guidelines state that the award is given to complexes of exceptional quality in order to “encourage increasingly high standards for construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country.”
To apply for the award, the college submitted photos and dimensions of the courts, the slope and grade of the site, and even the candelas (luminous intensity) of the lights used for the complex.
Construction on Biszantz began in May 2008 and finished in January 2009. The complex is located on the south side of Sixth Street, unlike CMC’s previous tennis courts, which were located in the center of campus.
According to CMC men’s tennis coach Paul Settles, Biszantz was intended to free up an area within the main campus for green space. Currently, the space accommodates several modular administrative buildings while construction on a new administrative space is going on.
Biszantz is an improvement on the old courts in several ways. There are now twelve courts instead of eight, and each court is fully lit and has permanent seating. Only one of the old courts had this permanent seating, and only three were lit.
The new complex also features two locker rooms with vaulted ceilings, skylights, colored tiled showers, and lockers in the U.S. Open’s horizontal style. A kitchen and a lounge provide the tennis teams with areas to watch game footage, eat, and relax.
Still, Settles said he believes the nicest part of the new facility is the “crow’s nest,” a tall square observation deck in the center of the twelve courts.
The Biszantz complex was named the Outdoor Tennis Facility of the Year in 2009 by the American Sports Builders Association. This prize was followed quickly by the Claremont Architectural Commission (CAC) Excellence in Design Award (New Construction and Sustainable Landscaping). The latter was awarded for the complex’s quality as well as its attention to ecological impact. The CAC commended CMC’s process for removing oak trees from the site, which involved relocating the oak trees when possible and replacing any that had to be completely removed, as well as use of native plant species for decoration, which decreases the overall water usage of the site.
Gary Biszantz, the namesake of and chief donor to the courts, received a plaque commemorating his donation during a Sept. 5 ceremony in New York City.
“The more innovative and creative and resourceful you are,” Settles said, “the more you can actually find out there.”