Construction has started on six indoor tennis courts at Oriam in response to a growing demand for the sport.
Developers, Clark Contracts, today (1 Sept) moved into Oriam, Scotland's Sports Performance Centre, at Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh campus, to break ground on the ambitious development.
Costing £4.5 million, the project will take around 12 months to complete with the first players expected to be welcomed onto court from late summer next year.
Once opened, Oriam will be a destination for tennis for our students and local community but also nationally and we look forward to delivering this successful project in late summer 2023
The tennis centre will primarily serve the communities of West Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian and Fife, and comes against growing calls for additional world-class tennis amenities to be made available to the public. It is being 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 at Oriam, was joined by Mel Young, Chair, sportscotland, Paul Guyer, Property Director at the LTA, Blane Dodds, Chief Executive of Tennis Scotland, Andrew Jefferson, Global Chief Financial Officer at Heriot-Watt University and Professor Mark Biggs, Vice-Principal and Provost of Heriot-Watt University as the diggers moved in to begin the works.
He explained the aim of the new courts is to encourage more people to pick up a racket, particularly from the local community as well as staff and students at Heriot-Watt University.
“We are delighted to be breaking ground on this high-profile project,” he said.
“I would like to extend my thanks to our partners the LTA, sportscotland and Tennis Scotland for their continued support and investment. This tennis facility is another sign, alongside our high-profile partners and the development of our new academic programmes, that Heriot-Watt is an ambitious sporting university.
“Once opened, Oriam will be a destination for tennis for our students and local community but also nationally and we look forward to delivering this successful project in late summer 2023.”
Delayed by two years due to the pandemic, the facility will adjoin Oriam's existing complex, which already boasts full size indoor and outdoor synthetic pitches, seven grass pitches, 12-court and four-court sports halls, public and performance gyms, hydropool, physiotherapy clinic plus many more. Once completed, the new courts will increase Oriam's footprint by 4000 sq/m.
A number of new tennis coaching and support jobs will be created by the time the project is completed, bringing a welcome employment boost to the area. The addition of six new tennis courts also fulfils 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 Sport and Exercise Science degree programme combining cutting edge teaching with world-leading sports facilities.
Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Heriot-Watt University said the arrival of the new tennis centre will enhance the institution's fast-growing reputation in sport.
He added: “The commencement of construction on this exciting project is a landmark moment for Oriam and paves the way for the provision of world-class tennis facilities at our Edinburgh campus.
“Though enhancing the existing sports offering at Oriam and with the recent introduction of our dedicated sport-related academic programmes, this University can continue to build on its reputation as a destination of choice for students looking to fulfil their potential.”
TSIT is designed to support innovative and creative projects to meet local demand and fill the geographical gaps in indoor tennis provision that currently exist across Scotland. At £15million TSIT is the largest capital investment programme in the sport's history in Scotland and the aim is to create more and better opportunities to play tennis all year round. The new centre at Oriam represents a significant commitment to delivering on that ambition by all the partners involved.
Mel Young MBE, Chair of sportscotland said: “This is not only a significant development for tennis but for the wider sporting system in Scotland. It is fantastic to see our partnership with Oriam and Heriot-Watt delivering additional world-class sporting facilities, building on Oriam's reputation as a place where community, student and performance sport can thrive together.
“These are exceptionally challenging 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. This is not just about the bricks and mortar; it's about creating an environment where people can enjoy the sport of tennis and progress to whatever level they aspire to. That's a really exciting prospect and I look forward to seeing the progress of Oriam, Moray and other TSIT projects."
Regular updates on the construction will be posted across Oriam's social media channels.