Construction of six indoor tennis courts in Oriam began in response to growing demand for the sport.
The developers, Clark Contracts, moved today (September 1) to Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre, on the Edinburgh campus of Heriot-Watt University, to pioneer this ambitious development.
Costing £4.5m, the project will take around 12 months and the first players are expected to be on the pitch from the end of next summer.
Once open, Oriam will be a tennis destination for our students and the local community but also nationally and we look forward to delivering this successful project in late summer 2023.
The tennis center will primarily serve the communities of West Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian and Fife, and is coming up against growing calls for additional world-class tennis facilities to be made available to the public. It is funded in partnership between Oriam, the Lawn Tennis Association, sportscotland and Tennis Scotland through the Transforming Scottish Indoor Tennis (TSIT) fund.
Ross Campbell, Executive Director of Oriam, was joined by Mel Young, Chairman, Sportscotland, Paul Guyer, Property Director of LTA, Blane Dodds, Chief Executive of Tennis Scotland, Andrew Jefferson, Global Chief Financial Officer of Heriot-Watt University and Professor Mark Biggs, Vice-Principal and Provost of Heriot-Watt University as diggers moved in to begin work.
He explained that the goal of the new courts is to encourage more people to pick up a racket, especially from the local community as well as Heriot-Watt University staff and students.
“We are thrilled to launch this massive project,” he said.
“I would like to thank our partners, the LTA, Sportscotland and Tennis Scotland for their continued support and investment. This tennis facility is another sign, alongside our leading partners and the development of our new academic programs, that Heriot-Watt is an ambitious sports university.
“Once open, Oriam will be a tennis destination for our students and the local community, but also nationally and we look forward to delivering this successful project in late summer 2023.”
Delayed for two years due to the pandemic, the facility will adjoin Oriam’s existing complex, which already has full-size indoor and outdoor synthetic pitches, seven grass pitches, 12-a-side sports halls and four courts, public and performance gymnasiums, a hydropool, clinical physiotherapy and many more. When completed, the new courts will increase Oriam’s footprint by 4,000m².
A number of new tennis coaching and support jobs will be created by the end of the project, providing a welcome boost to employment in the area. The addition of six new tennis courts also fulfills an obligation by Oriam to replace three tennis courts that were removed to make way for its arrival in 2016.
Heriot-Watt University and Oriam recently launched a degree program in Sport and Exercise Science combining state-of-the-art teaching with state-of-the-art sports facilities.
Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, said the arrival of the new tennis center will bolster the institution’s rapidly growing reputation in the sport.
He added: “The start of construction on this exciting project is a historic moment for Oriam and paves the way for the delivery of world-class tennis facilities to our Edinburgh campus.
“While enhancing the existing sports offering at Oriam and with the recent introduction of our sports-dedicated academic programs, this university can continue to build on its reputation as a destination of choice for students looking to fulfill their potential. ”
TSIT is designed to support innovative and creative projects to meet local demand and fill the geographic gaps in indoor tennis supply that currently exist across Scotland. At £15million, TSIT is the biggest capital investment program in the history of sport in Scotland and the aim is to create more and better opportunities to play tennis all year round. Oriam’s new center represents an important commitment to realize this ambition by all the partners involved.
Mel Young MBE, chairman of sportscotland, said: “This is not just a significant development for tennis, but also for the wider Scottish sporting system. It’s fantastic to see our partnership with Oriam and Heriot-Watt providing additional world-class sports facilities, building on Oriam’s reputation as a place where community, students and performance sport can thrive. together.
“These are exceptionally difficult times for everyone, and I must commend our partners for their continued commitment to delivering on our shared ambition to improve indoor tennis facilities across Scotland. It’s not just about bricks and mortar; it’s about creating an environment where people can enjoy the sport of tennis and progress to the level to which they aspire. It’s a really exciting prospect and I can’t wait to see the progress of Oriam, Moray and other TSIT projects.”
Regular construction updates will be posted on Oriam’s social media channels.