Eight New Tennis Courts

Los Alamos Tennis Club

Recent letters show some public misunderstanding of the project currently under review to create a tennis center in White Rock. Hopefully the following information will address and explain some of the concerns that have been expressed.

There are 9 different tennis court locations in Los Alamos and White Rock, each location containing a group of between 1 and 4 courts. No location in the county meets the 8-court requirement for tournaments by the New Mexico Athletic Association (NMAA), or the 5-court requirement to play United States Tennis Association (USTA) competitive tennis tournament. Only two locations are lighted: Pinon in White Rock with 3 courts, and Urban in Los Alamos with 4 courts.  The lack of lighting limits all other courts to recreational play in the daytime hours. The other courts are not candidates for lighting additions as they are located in residential areas.

There is also a misconception that the purpose of the new complex is to capture out of town tourist dollars.  While it is a bonus when players from surrounding areas decide to avail themselves of local restaurants and shopping, it is not the purpose of hosting a tennis tournament or league.  A complex of lighted, co-located courts makes it possible for Los Alamos locals to practice and participate in competitive play during the hours after school and work, as well as during the day. Building a centralized tennis location also creates the opportunity to convert and renovate selected existing court locations into dedicated pickleball facilities. The larger, lighted new tennis facilities are expected to be fully utilized with recreational and competitive play. 

It has been suggested to just add courts to existing sites.  While this was the original idea many years ago, after comprehensive studies and input from residents surrounding existing courts, none of these sites can accommodate building additional courts.   

There has been discussion that resurfacing the existing courts is all that is needed.  While existing courts do need resurfacing, and the county has plans in motion to do this, simple resurfacing won’t solve the long-term problem of not having enough courts in one location. The new courts would have the benefit of modern construction principles and post-tensioned surfaces, and with proper maintenance can allow a court to go 10 years or more without needing to be resurfaced. Repairing, resurfacing, and maintaining all the other courts should be done but these will never reach the standard of competitive match (team/tournament) facilities. Some of these courts could be double lined for pickleball or tennis at recreational levels of play closer to residents who use them.

In addition to the lack of enough co-located courts, the existing facilities in Los Alamos do not have fence separators between courts, year-round windscreens, shaded player seating, or a facility to host guests, which almost every other facility (public and private) in northern New Mexico has. 

As we look to the future, outdoor recreational activities are some of the best aspects of our community.  Let’s continue to work together to provide opportunities for all of our community members and expand our horizons.