IUPUI to demolish tennis center

Indianapolis Tennis Center

Indianapolis - It's the end of the line for the Indianapolis Tennis Center. IUPUI made the announcement Friday.

The center, which includes the 10,000-seat tennis stadium, the indoor tennis courts, and the outdoor tennis courts on the IUPUI campus, will close after August 5, 2010. A parking facility will go up in its place.

The IUPUI sports complex garage directly to the south of the existing garage will be expanded. A garage with an estimated 1,300 spaces is projected to break ground this winter and will provide much needed parking for this area, the university said.

The move was in part prompted by the expansion of the NCAA headquarters, university officials said.

The university says it supports a relocation plan for the tennis center but acquiring new land or committing to new construction expenses is out of the question at this point.

The Indianapolis Tennis Championships moved out of Indianapolis in December 2009 after tournament directors sold the sanctioning rights to a group in Atlanta. RCA sponsored the event from 1992-2006, but it never found another title sponsor. That made it harder to attract top players and, in turn, led to lower ticket sales and made the tournament no longer viable in Indianapolis. There was also less revenue coming in to maintain the aging facility.

IUPUI is planning to redesign that area of campus, which is close to the Natatorium, the Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium, the Herron School of Art and Design, and the National Institute for Fitness and Sports (NIFS). The university says it's part of their master plan approved by the IU Board of Trustees in 2009.

The master plan looks to integrate the campus better with downtown Indianapolis and White River State Park.

Summer programs will take place as scheduled. The tennis stadium is expected to come down this summer and the indoor tennis courts after August 5.

The university says the expansion of the NCAA headquarters has already required use of the NIFS parking lot for construction equipment and the use of six of the tennis center outdoor courts for temporary parking for NIFS customers.

City officials will assess traffic flows and consider making Michigan and New York Streets two-way. They will also consider completing University Boulevard just north of NIFS all the way to Blackford Street.