GAME, SET, MATCH FOR EOU'S TENNIS DOME

January 24, 2002 12:00 am
DOOMED DOME: The days are numbered for Eastern Oregon Universitys 13-year-old tennis dome. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
DOOMED DOME: The days are numbered for Eastern Oregon Universitys 13-year-old tennis dome. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Eastern Oregon Universitys tennis dome is losing its match against Father Time.

The structures roof, installed about 13 years ago, is becoming increasingly fragile as it ages and absorbs hard serves from the weather.

We dont know if it could take another windstorm, said Tim Seydel, Easterns assistant vice president for university advancement.

The structure will be dismantled the last week of March during spring break.

Originally, Eastern officials intended to have the tennis dome up for only a few years.

It had a 10-year maximum lifespan. It has gone well beyond its maximum lifespan, Seydel said.

The dome has been patched extensively in recent years. There is concern that another windstorm could tear off the patches.

It is not feasible to keep patching. We have done all the repair work we can do, Seydel said.

Although the domes tarp is threadbare, its steel structure is in good condition, said Matt Graves, EOUs director of facilities and planning.

The structure may be taken down by Treasure Valley Community College. Representatives from the Ontario school have expressed an interest in the dome. They will be given the dome at no cost if they agree to disassemble and remove it, Graves said.

The two tennis courts covered by the dome will remain in place after the structure is dismantled.

New indoor courts might be built at Eastern several years from now. EOUs master plan calls for a field house to be built later. That facility might include indoor tennis courts. There are no immediate plans to build a field house.

Installation of the tennis dome started in August 1988. The process proved eventful when the domes trusses collapsed on Aug. 21, 1988, after it was 90 percent complete. Nobody was injured in the collapse.

The tennis dome has been stable since then but it was seriously damaged during a wind storm in the early 1990s. It had to be closed for several months for repairs.

Easterns other two tennis courts are outdoor courts on the south side of the dome.