Work is underway on a new home for Athlone Tennis Club.

Exciting new era underway for Athlone Tennis Club

The first phase of an exciting new dawn for Athlone Tennis Club has broken ground in recent days.

Work has begun on phase one of a new state-of-the-art tennis complex at the club's new home beside Athlone Regional Sports Centre, just off the Ballymahon Road roundabout, on land leased from Westmeath County Council.

It will see the club, founded all the way back in 1885 in Garden Vale, move from its current base in Athlone GAA club to a new permanent home boasting facilities that will be the envy of clubs nationwide.

The first phase, made possible with a grant of €150,000 from Leader, another €97,000 from the Sports Capital grants announced on Friday last, and over €120,000 from members who supported a recent bond scheme, will see three outdoor courts put in place.

Hailing the commitment of members and various committees in terms of finance, fundraising and development, Oliver McGrath said it's an exciting time for Athlone Tennis Club with ML & S Boland Civil Engineering Ltd starting the groundworks on-site last Friday.

Thanking everyone who has supported them so far, he had a special mention of gratitude for local engineer John Killian who is heading up the project, alongside Quantity Surveyor Derek Martin.

“We'd hope the club (members) will be playing on the courts in mid-to-late summer,” Oliver, who is leading the development team driving the project, said on Monday, adding that the project will be completed over a twelve to sixteen week period.

“Phase one is made up of three courts with floodlights,” he explained of the first phase which will cost in the region of €450,000 which will require more fundraising.

“It's going to be a fantastic facility for Athlone. It will be open to new members,” he pointed out, adding that it will enhance the area and will be a huge boost to the club to be so prominently located beside the fitness park and ARSC facilities. A temporary clubhouse will also be put in place as part of the initial phase.

A computer generated image showing the three outdoor courts with the dome-like structure to the right, which would house indoor courts.

Once the first element is complete, the club will move to work on the second phase, a unique development in the region of three full-size indoor courts under a dome-like structure, subject to planning permission, allowing tennis fans to play 365 days a year.

The third and final phase will encompass the provision of a permanent clubhouse.