New tennis facility opens after year-long postponement

By Lara Sokoloff and Cherish Molezion

Built over an eight month period, the Los Angeles Valley Tennis courts opened Monday, Head of Campus Operations J.D. DeMatte said.

The new facilities include eight courts and a viewing court. Lights were also added to allow competitions to continue despite the nighttime darkness.

For many years, the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams played at Studio City Golf and Tennis near the Upper School. However, Harvard-Westlake only rented these courts on a month to month basis, DeMatte said. Recently, the school has been losing its rented courts at Studio City Golf and Tennis, and thus felt it was necessary to construct their own.

The school went into a joint venture with Valley College, DeMatte said.

Valley College will use them for P.E. classes during the day, and Harvard-Westlake will use them for boys’ and girls’ tennis teams in the afternoon and in the evening. The space was formerly used for parking at Valley College.

The venture was supposed to cost around $1 million, DeMatte said in 2009. The funding came from Advancement Office’s reserve funding, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Christine Hazy said.

Varsity tennis athlete Jamie West ’12 is looking forward to having the school’s own facilities to use.

“The other facilities were fine, but it was a public place and there were always other people playing,” he said. “Here there will be more space for the fans to watch, and maybe we’ll get more of a fan turnout.”

However, the courts were supposed to be completed in time for last year’s boys’ season, West said. Due to restrictions from the Division of the State Architect, the construction was delayed a year, DeMatte said.

For such a competitive and successful program, it was time that the team had a top notch facility, Head Coach Chris Simpson said.

On Monday, boys’ tennis tryouts began, DeMatte said.