The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will renovate the Burnett “Blondie” Pharr Tennis Center. The tennis courts have reached the end of their service life and need to be modernized.  The pro shop building is to be brought to current codes with compliant restrooms. This project is in the construction phase. District 9

Updates

Council approved the execution of a construction contract on June 16, 2022.

 

Site plan of the Pharr Tennis Center, showing 8 full courts, one half court, rain gardens on the east side of the property and new tree plantings throughout

Background

Pharr Tennis Center is one of four municipal tennis centers, offering year-round tennis play and supervised tennis activities to the community through comprehensive programs for all ages. Pharr Tennis Center is located next to Patterson Neighborhood Park and adjacent to the Mueller Development on Airport Boulevard in Council District 9.

The Center was named for Burnett “Blondie” Pharr. Blondie Pharr (1898-1976) was the band director at The University of Texas and is credited with writing the University’s fight song. During his lifetime, Mr. Pharr also managed the Caswell Tennis Center and was an influential music educator in Central Texas. The Pharr Tennis Center was named in his honor on December 11, 1975, for his seminal and remarkable contributions to the development of tennis in Austin.

Pharr Tennis Center was constructed in the late 1970s during a period when the Austin Tennis League experienced exceptional growth in Austin. More than forty years later, the tennis courts at the Center have reached the end of their service life and need to be renovated and modernized.

Project Description

The project goal is to renew the forty-plus year tennis courts and pro shop building facility with new improvements that meet accessibility requirements and address various site deficiencies. The project will refurbish the courts; add energy-efficient sports lighting; replace fencing, windscreens, and court amenities; and provide accessible parking, security site lighting, and proper drainage. Additionally, the project will provide new facility signage, shade structures, and park furnishings.

Art in Public Places

A permanent artwork will be created as part of the Pharr Tennis Center rehabilitation. The City of Austin's Art in Public Places (AIPP) program facilitates this artwork process. In 2020, local artists were invited to apply to be considered for this project. A jury of visual arts professionals (advised by community members and City staff) reviewed the applications and recommended artist team Rakhee Jain Desai and Melissa Knight for the project. The recommendation was approved by the AIPP Panel and Austin Arts Commission.

In 2021, artists Rakhee and Melissa carried out community engagement and developed an artwork design based on the feedback received. Once the design is approved, the artwork will be fabricated and installed in alignment with the Pharr Tennis Center rehabilitation construction schedule.

For questions about the AIPP project, please contact AIPP Project Manager Alex Irrera by email or phone at (512) 974-7860.

Objectives

The project aims to achieve LEED Silver certification and SITES certification. To reach these goals, project objectives include but are not limited to:

  • Reduce operation and maintenance costs
  • Protect and restore the site’s habitat
  • Preserve open space
  • Manage rainwater through the development of three new rain gardens
  • Reduce water use through the installation of new low-flow and low-flush fixtures
  • Ensure good indoor air quality in the pro shop for occupants using low-emitting materials
  • Reduce energy with efficient lighting use

Anticipated Schedule

Please note that as in any construction project, schedules are projected as accurately as possible. All dates are subject to change due to the nature of construction and the weather.

  • Spring 2021: Development Review Permit issued (Completed)
  • Fall 2021: Rebid of Project and Council Action (Completed)
  • Summer 2022: Construction Start (Ongoing)
  • Late 2023: Construction Ends

Community Engagement

Past Community Engagement meetings include:

  • Community Meeting on Design Concepts, held virtually on June 11, 2020
  • Art in Public Places Community Meeting, held virtually on August 29, 2021

Funding & Resources

Funding is provided through the 2018 G.O. Bond, which included $4 million for the Pharr Tennis Center.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Audra Biediger, Project Manager AIA, Public Works Department, by email or by calling (512) 974-2473.

Or contact George Maldonado, Project Manager, Parks and Recreation Department, by email or by calling (512) 974-9525.