Mercer County Park Commission
After several years of using an old and drafty building at the Trenton-Mercer airport site as an indoor tennis facility the County of Mercer and its Park Commission set out to provide new indoor courts in Mercer County Park, the site of their 26 court outdoor tennis center. The Park Commission retained CME Associates to develop design plans and specifications for site work and an aluminum framed fabric structure to house six tennis courts with a spectator area. Plans to construct rest rooms and other support facilities in the future were to be included. Following research of code issues that included discussions with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and meetings with the West Windsor Construction Department, due to the somewhat unconventional nature of the construction it was determined that the overall building had to be "self-sustaining" with restrooms and other code related features such as fire protection sprinklers at the onset. As a result, a "building within the building" to include a reception area, rest rooms, locker facilities and an observation deck/lounge area was developed.
Together with DeRosa Group Architects, CME completed the design, plans and specifications in late 2006. The facility construction was completed in the summer of 2008 and a grand opening was held on October 20, 2008.
The structure also features large doors at each end allowing for an "open-air" feel as weather conditions permit. The facility is fully insulated and heated for wintertime use and is equipped with an air circulation system that along with the insulation will provide comfortable conditions in warm weather as well.
The general contractor was Green Construction of South River, NJ. Their successful bid included the aluminum framed fabric structure by Universal Fabric Structures with regional offices in Quakertown, PA.
The site within Mercer County Park selected for the new center provided some design challenges with its wooded character and elevation grade changes. Keeping clearing to a minimum was an obvious goal for the park setting and building the facility into the existing slope creating a tiered interior proved to be a layout that worked extremely well. Two of the six tennis courts are on the lower level and provide an ideal venue for tournament and league play with bleachers serving these two courts as well as the observation deck atop the adjacent facilities building.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said "This state of the art facility is the latest example of ingenuity in Mercer County and reinforces that our parks are second to none. This indoor tennis center will serve generations of our residents and introduce the game of tennis to more people than ever before. In tennis terms, it's an ace".
Mercer County Parks Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon said "The County now has the ability to host its lessons, camps and tournaments all in one place, eliminating the need to fluctuate between two sites. We believe this fantastic new center is really going to open up the game of tennis to so many more people here in Mercer."
Mercer County Tennis Director Marc Vecchiolla said "this is a very unique building and it's a tremendous upgrade for us. It's fully insulated, there is no echo effect and it retains heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. It's a fantastic structure and we're fortunate to have a building of this caliber in Mercer County".
The new tennis facility is the latest in the outstanding array of park amenities within Mercer County Park reinforcing the County's past and continuing commitment of providing outstanding recreational facilities for its residents. CME Associates is proud to have a role in the continued development of this truly magnificent public park.