Visitors to Ida Lee Park will be seeing double next March, when the newest addition to the Parks and Recreation Department’s tennis program debuts.
Leesburg leaders broke ground Wednesday on the town’s forthcoming tennis bubble, which, combined with its neighboring 2007 predecessor, will further add to the tennis program’s indoor offerings. The new bubble will go up over three existing outdoor courts at Ida Lee Park.
The Town Council awarded a construction contract for the $1.5 million project in the spring. While the capital project was initially envisioned to be merely a seasonal air structure to go over the outdoor courts, a decision was instead made to create a permanent, year-round facility to complement the existing tennis bubble. A permanent facility is expected to have a longer lifespan than a seasonal air structure—approximately seven to 13 additional years—and is more energy efficient due to the addition of insulation.
Site construction is expected to begin within four to six weeks of securing building permits, said Renee LaFollette, director of the town’s Public Works and Capital Projects Department. The target date for opening of the new tennis bubble is March 9, 2022.
Wednesday’s ceremonial groundbreaking included several members of the Town Council—Mayor Kelly Burk, Vice Mayor Marty Martinez, and council members Neil Steinberg and Zach Cummings. Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman Brody McCray and commissioners Laurie Burke and Kirsten Shabanowitz joined them in moving dirt. Burk even enjoyed a few swings on the tennis court afterwards, with her high school tennis racquet in tow, with Ida Lee’s tennis pro Mark Elliott.
Parks and Recreation Department Director Rich Williams said plans are to shift some of the tennis center’s current programming to the new indoor courts once they open next year, freeing up court time at the existing indoor tennis center, which currently boasts a utilization rate hovering just below 100%. The revenue generated from the new tennis bubble is expected to cover its annual operating costs and debt service, he added.
Madigan Construction, Inc., will lead the building, while Yeardon Domes, the manufacturer of the 2007 tennis bubble, will provide the air structure.
Tennis players who would still prefer a game in the open air need not fear—four outdoor courts will remain at Ida Lee.