Tennis Center almost done

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Construction crews working on the city's indoor tennis facility are battling the elements as they work to enclose the structure.

Project manager Chris Wilson, also the city's parks and recreation director, said The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs probably is at least three to four weeks from completion. The new building, which replaces the inflatable bubble that enclosed four clay courts adjacent to Ski Town Park, is a "frame and fabric" structure. When complete, the $3 million facility will enclose six hard-surface courts.

"They have enclosed the south end (of the structure) and are stitching it," Wilson said. "They've begun framing on the north end, and they'll be installing a garage door and (entry doors)."

On Saturday and Sunday, workers for Summit Structures climbed on top of the building in a driving snowstorm and overlapped the fabric panels on the structure. Using wooden mallets, Wilson said, they pounded the rim of the covering into channels in metal brackets atop the roof.

Tennis Center Director Jim Swiggart said he was aware of the difficult conditions construction workers are dealing with.

"I applaud all of the people working so hard on it," Swiggart said. "The whole tennis community is eager for a successful opening, and sooner than later. My focus is on getting my loyal employees back to work."

There are more difficult tasks to undertake. Crews must shovel snow away from the perimeter of the structure. That step is necessary to begin a "ratcheting" process used to make the covering fully taut and sealed against weather, Wilson said.

"It's been a great challenge," Wilson said. He said that 20 years ago, construction projects were suspended during Steamboat winters.

Electricians and an insulating crew were working this week in preparation for the installation of ductwork and the mechanical system that will make it possible to heat the building. Wilson said the fabric roof is designed to shed snow naturally and that insulation, in addition to making heating more efficient, will prevent ice buildup on the roof.

The asphalt base for four of the six tennis courts has been poured. Wilson said two more courts must be poured before Renner Sport Surfaces can surface the courts.

Swiggart said getting the court surfaces installed properly is as important as the construction of the rest of the building.

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