LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Bulldozers, chainsaws and other large pieces of equipment are making noise on the south portion of the Covenant campus these days. The sound is nothing but music to the ears of head tennis coach John Hirte.
This past week, phase one of construction began on six new tennis courts for the Covenant men's and women's programs. The project is scheduled for completion by sometime in November.
The first phase includes knocking down all the trees from the south portion of the Intramural field to the Scotland Yard parking lot.
"I am very excited about the prospect of our new tennis facility," said Hirte, who will enter his second year as the head coach of both programs in 2013-14. "I am extremely grateful to all who have worked hard to make this project a reality."
Since the inception of the tennis programs in the mid-2000s, Covenant has been without enough courts on campus to host matches. This has forced the teams to travel to local high schools and other facilities in the area for their "home" matches.
Currently, there are three courts on the campus meaning not only is it next to impossible to host a match, but also limits the amount of sufficient practice space for the teams.
"Increasing the amount of court space will drastically increase the productivity of practices," Hirte added.
But all of that is about to change as the new courts, located between Ashe Activity Center and Scotland Yard, will be ready to go for this upcoming season. Lights are also planned on being installed allowing for home matches to be played even after the sun sets.
"The biggest impact on our current tennis team will be that they now have a 'home court,' just like the soccer teams have Scotland Yard and basketball teams have Barnes Gym," continued Hirte. "Home matches will now actually be home matches, and I think that will have a huge psychological impact, especially for returning players."
Hirte also sees these courts as a benefit to the local communities and not just the tennis teams. "In addition to being able to host matches on campus, it is my hope that these courts can help further promote and grow the game of tennis within the Covenant and Lookout Mountain communities," said Hirte.
To view the photo gallery of the construction progress, click here