Pelham Racquet Club continues renovation efforts to main building

Published 1:02 pm Thursday, March 7, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

PELHAM – After beginning in January, updates and renovations to the Pelham Racquet Club’s main building are proceeding on schedule and are currently expected to finish in the coming months.

The project, which is being carried out through contracting services provided by Duncan Thompson, began its planning phases over the course of last year and began physical work in January following a competitive bidding process.

With a projected total budget of $750,000, the undertaking seeks to make a series of updates and quality-of-life improvements to the club’s more than two-decade-old main building. Those improvements and additions include a dedicated stringing services space, revitalized front desk area, dedicated pro-shop, temperature controlled outdoor storage area and a renovated upstairs kitchen and gathering space.

“Up until now, we’ve offered stringing services without a dedicated space for the equipment,” Pelham Racquet Club Director Chaney Mills said. “We have two stringing machines in operation daily, and we set up a third for larger tournaments. Between the two machines and needed supplies—plus the people needed to do the work—we needed a dedicated space to be able to continue offering the service while also providing the level of customer service people expect from us.”

Related to customer service, the renovations have created a new area for the club’s pro shop which was formally located in the back of the building.

“The pro shop in the original layout was in the back of the building with one window, which was not ideal because it was not highly visible,” Mills said. “In recent years, we have increased our inventory. In the beginning we had shoes, racquets, string and some accessories. Today we have a variety of tennis brands, clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, chapstick, socks, hair accessories, logo apparel and more. The new space will be visible when you walk in and will have display areas to fit our needs.”

Included in that ability to house new and larger amounts of merchandise came a further need to include storage capabilities at the facility, which have been accounted for with the inclusion of the temperature-controlled storage areas that will also house amenities for the facilities guests.

“We quickly identified the need for more storage as a top priority with this reconfiguration of the clubhouse,” Mills said. “Two new temperature-controlled storage areas will be constructed outside, one dedicated to vending services to better serve the patron. This is where the ice machine, bottle filler/water fountain, and drink machine will be located. The other space will allow us to have a locked space for tennis balls, food, pro shop inventory, and tournament supplies.”

For the most part, the club has not allowed the ongoing construction efforts at the building to slow down the offerings maintained at the club, which regularly welcomes players from across the United States and the world during tournaments held each year. Thanks to ample amounts of planning, the Pelham Racquet Club even managed to add an event to its calendar over the course of the current work efforts.

“We were asked to host a (rescheduled) tournament in March,” Mills said. “We informed the U.S. Tennis Association that we would love to host, but made sure organizers were aware of the construction. They trusted us, and we made it happen. We have (also) carried on with our regular league play and tournaments. The only pause we are taking is with is the Pelham Racquet Club Women’s $60,000 Pro Classic.”

Described as one of the club’s largest and most populated events, that tournament was determined to simply be too large to host considering the ongoing work. However, Mills has confirmed that the Pelham Racquet Club fully intends to resume hosting the tournament in 2025.

“The staff is really awesome, and I can’t say enough about them,” Mills said. “They really band together and make things happen, even if it seems impossible. We had a lot of discussions, and with the help of other departments, we made a plan to get by. Is it uncomfortable at times? Sure, but we all know the bigger picture.”

The renovation work is currently scheduled to complete sometime in July.