The Delcastle Tennis Center (DTC) opened its brand new $3.2 million indoor tennis facility on Saturday, welcoming 150 eager tennis fanatics — a mix of winter USTA league sluggers, college athletes, and kids and adults who took part in free lessons offered by the USTA Delaware District.
The facility on McKennan’s Church Road has six indoor courts with year-round climate control (yes – air conditioning), two kitchens, a fitness room, locker rooms with three showers each – including one handicap accessible stall, and a large event space upstairs with unobstructed views. Large windows on the first floor also provide the same level of spectator viewing.
As first reported here, construction began in April, with a targeted completion date of September. But with the extensive rain and a few construction delays, the opening was pushed to December.
“Everything came out as planned and we think it looks great,” said co-owner Ron Sanna, who also said the medium-speed court surface is designed to make for a more forgiving experience for weekend warriors and more serious players alike.
“It’s not as hard and abusive on the body as it would be with a post-tension concrete floor. These courts have nearly five inches of amesite and five coats of deco paint on top,” he said.
Sanna and DTC co-owner Boubacar Toure are particularly happy with the indirect, state-of-the-art-lighting and the reflective ceiling. “It’s considered daylight lighting. LED’s thousand candlelight is what we have up there. You’re not going to find any spotty areas, dead spots, shadows anywhere.”
A new awning has been ordered for the entrance, which will help in rainy and snowy conditions.
The new indoor building required changes to Delcastle’s previous outdoor footprint. Two stadium courts were removed to make way for the new facility but as part of the overall investment, six outdoor courts are being completely resurfaced in time for summer.
Toure said the new courts will fill an unmet need in the community.
“From day one, Ron and I sat down with the county and said, ‘There’s something missing here for the tennis community at large. We need a community indoor tennis facility that caters to everyone.’”
The co-owners say that they have lined up commitments from three Women’s Cup Tennis Association (WCTA) teams, three USTA teams, and Wilmington University and Goldey Beacom to make the facility their new home for indoor training and matches. They are also in discussions with the University of Delaware about bringing their men’s and women’s tennis teams to the facility.
The USTA has also agreed to offer as much programming as possible at Delcastle to attract new players to the game.
“We also want to make this a junior development center where kids from any economic background can afford to take lessons here. It’s open to anybody,” said Toure.
Membership is $90 annually. Drop-in clinics, private instruction and court reservations are available to members and non-members – slightly lower rates for members. Court reservation fees range from $38/hour for Early Bird DTC members (Mon – Fri, 6 – 9 am) to $50/hour for non-members during peak times (Mon – Fri 4:30 – 10 pm; Sat and Sun 8:30 am – 10 pm). Courts can be reserved for as little as 1/2 hour and up to 3 hours, depending on availability.