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St. Mary's College of Maryland - Facilities

Seen one tennis court, seen ’em all, right?

Wrong. If that were the case, St. Mary’s wouldn’t have spent $400,000 to make the new Somerset Tennis Complex a cut above.

The complex, which opened for play on March 9, 2001, includes six courts painted with a water-resistant acrylic base coat and two finish coats.

The courts are arranged in three groups of two, with walkways in between and separate fencing for each group. The drop-down fencing — high at each end, belt-level on the sides — allows for easy spectator viewing and does away with that caged look.

"It opens up the courts, so the fencing is not so overwhelming, the way it is when you have a 12-foot fence all around the perimeter," said Larry Hartwick, the capital projects manager at St. Mary’s.

On the courts themselves, the concern is more with 12-inch puddles than with 12-foot fencing. At St. Mary’s they’ve become a rare sight.

"A lot of people take tennis courts for granted," Hartwick declared, "but they need to be laid out with a minimum grade, so you don’t get ponding and things like that. They have a tolerance of only one-eighth of an inch per 10 feet.

"Our new courts are the first time I’ve seen it done really well. We told the contractor that we absolutely wouldn’t accept anything less the the specified tolerance, and they got the message. We were there to make sure everything went right, and they did a great job."

The new courts will co-exist for a time with six older courts a short distance away, built in 1971. Eventually the older courts will give way to the Somerset Gym expansion.

For the record, St. Mary’s junior Brad Nowicki served the first ball in competition at the new complex as the Seahawks edged Randolph-Macon 4-3 on March 9, 2001. In the first match to begin and the first to end, Nowicki teamed with senior Andy Beliveau to win their No. 1 doubles match 8-4 over Eric Ancarrow and Coleman Adams