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Shropshire school tennis centre wins award and will be replicated
22 Feb 2018
by Dani Wozencroft


How exciting – the tennis facilities at Ellesmere College have won an award! Great news for all involved.

A new state of the art tennis facility at a Shropshire school has been served an award for innovation and will be replicated across the UK.

The Tennis Centre at Ellesmere College, which houses four full-size acrylic performance courts and changing rooms, won builders Rocklyn an Award for Excellence from the Sport and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) this month (Feb 8).

The company, based in Scotland, fought against planning officers at Shropshire Council to stick to the original designs for the LTA standard centre.

Gareth Howe, sales manager at Rocklyn, said: “The Ellesmere College project is the largest of its kind we’ve completed in England and we’re absolutely delighted to have picked up the SAPCA Award for it.

“One of the challenges we had was that the local planning officers wanted to change the plans by initially insisting on an opaque roof.

“We immediately arranged a meeting, explaining how a translucent roof ensures the centre benefits from natural light and has a positive effect on the playing environment and sustainability of the facility.”

Rocklyn beat 17 other finalist to be handed the award for the fabric-framed structure.

The project also included the design and installation of an LED lighting system in compliance with LTA specifications and the possibility to open the side and gable walls to a height of 3.8metres, allowing air to flow through the building.

The centre took around nine months to complete last summer and was opened by Annabel Croft.

Each court has been named after inspirational members of the Shropshire tennis community – such as Cathy Sabine, President of the LTA from Much Wenlock, and Barbara Goolden, founder of the Tennis Academy at Ellesmere.

Headmaster Brendan Wignall said: “Ellesmere has a national reputation for its sporting prowess and this is a great development, which will not only allow us to develop our tennis to an even higher standard, but should help more people get involved in tennis across the community.

“It’s an enormous building and a fantastic facility.”

The local community, schools and clubs are able to book the indoor courts for use and have coaching sessions, as well as use the college’s six floodlit, all weather courts and nine artificial grass courts.

Stephen Welti, director of tennis at the college, said: “We have 120 students playing tennis every week already, it’s one of our biggest sports.

“The hope is that we can grow participation and excellence in our fabulous new facility not just for the students, but also for the wider community.

“We are already working with the LTA to fit regular weekend tournaments into the

calendar, starting in April.

“So much has the interest been in the facility, that on March 17 and 18, Tennis Wales will play Tennis Scotland in a series of matches over the two days hear at Ellesmere.”

This week Ben Stephenson, commercial director at Rocklyn, visited the college site alongside bosses from Tennis Scotland and the Designer for Tennis Scotland to see if this design should be replicated over the border.