LC may construct new, lasting tennis facility

Photo by Jo Tabacek

The Tennis Dome is a four court tennis facility that provides year-round indoor practice space for the Lewis & Clark tennis team and the community at large. The Tennis Dome was initially a gift to LC from Robert Pamplin, founder of the Pamplin Society.  It was replaced after several years. 

The Tennis Dome is an air- supported fabric structure. The dome is supported by constant positive air pressure. Fabric dome buildings are commonly used with sports facilities that necessitate protection from the elements. The cost of a dome is substantially less than the cost of a full building. Dome structures also do not increase property taxes, unlike typical buildings. 

LC is currently planning on replacing the Tennis Dome with a more permanent structure.

“The Lewis & Clark Master Plan calls for the construction of a steel-frame dome building to replace the current tennis dome,” Roy Kaufmann, director of public relations, said. “The new structure will be more economically and environmentally sustainable, in keeping with those goals defined in the strategic plan.”

Despite the typical rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest, most colleges and universities in the Northwest Conference do not have covered facilities. Jimmy Chau, the head coach of both men’s and women’s tennis, said that LC is quite lucky to have covered tennis facilities.

“If you look around our league, the Northwest Conference, you’ll see all types of structures and setups for tennis facilities that are indoors,” Chau said via email. “Whitman and Puget Sound are the only two schools with the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ type of building” 

“When you’re trying to build a nationally competitive tennis program that competes with the elite programs across the country, you always want more for your student athletes,” Chau said.

George Fox University and Pacific University have similar structures to LC with steel framing. Willamette University and Pacific Lutheran University rent facilities off campus. Whitworth University is the only other school in the Northwest Conference that uses an air-supported structure like LC.

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