Mon 23 Jan 17
Our impressive new tennis dome at Colchester Campus has been officially opened by alumnus and House of Commons Speaker the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.
The single skin inflatable dome is one of the largest of its kind in the country and covers four tennis courts, with one netball court. Covering the courts during the winter months means the university can offer an all-weather facility for students, staff and the local community.
Speaking at the opening, Mr Bercow fondly remembered his time at Essex, when he played for the University tennis team.
“It is a thrill to be here to see how magnificent this new facility is,” he said. “I am passionate about sport and the fact that the university is providing new facilities like this is wonderful thing.”
Apart from being a great facility for students and staff there is an extensive tennis programme for people from the wider community. Led by Essex tennis coach Toby Bawden, the University’s tennis programme already attracts 70 children and 40 adults every week and the aim is to increase this to 250 in total in three years.
During the opening event Mr Bercow enjoyed a rally with budding tennis star of the future five-year-old Haqim Kamal who is part of the University’s coaching programme.
Director of Sport, Dr Dave Parry added: “Our new covered tennis facility will have a significant impact on the quality of sports playing experience for members of our University community and the local community.
“We have made tremendous progress recently with our tennis programmes, achieving advanced partner status with the LTA which will provide benefits to our students and staff. In addition, our tennis activator and coach, Toby Bawden, has done a superb job in growing a large community programme, assisted by a team of student coaches, so we now have a really thriving tennis programme that is accessible by everyone.
“These are very exciting times, as alongside the refurbished sports hall and enhancements to Evolve Gym, and with the new sports arena due to open later this year, Essex is rapidly becoming a top class sporting venue.”