The Cincinnati Tennis Foundation plans to build a $10 million community center with indoor tennis courts and rooms for academic programs behind Withrow High School.
But first, the foundation plans to spend an additional $100,000 resurfacing eight existing outdoor tennis courts at the school in Hyde Park.
“The foundation’s mission is to positively impact lives through access to tennis and education. We believe that a community center with a central, affordable, indoor location provides opportunities to develop students in a way that hasn't previously been accessible to youth in Cincinnati,” Nikki Cioffi, the foundation’s chief operating officer, said in an email.
Workers have begun resurfacing the outdoor tennis courts at Withrow – a job the foundation hopes to complete this summer.
Included in the $100,000 price tag are upgrades to the outdoor courts and the sidewalks in the area to make the planned community center accessible to people in wheelchairs.
The Cincinnati Tennis Foundation hopes to raise enough money this year to begin building the center next year and open it in 2023, Cioffi said.
The center will include eight indoor tennis courts, plus classrooms and meeting rooms for academic, mentorship and student-collaboration programs.
“Our programming is based on creating opportunities for students in order to help set them up for future success, and this is done through time spent both on and off the courts,” Cioffi said.
The Cincinnati Tennis Foundation is dedicated to making tennis available to everyone in the Cincinnati area and to making free introductory tennis lessons available to every elementary student in the Cincinnati Public Schools, she said.
The nonprofit group also offers mentoring, character-building and academic programs to young people in schools, clubs, youth centers and parks.
It has helped youths win more than $5 million in athletic and academic college scholarships since it was founded in 2015, Cioffi said.
“We anticipate the ability to host college tennis matches at our indoor facility (at Withrow High School) as another way to show students a college pathway,” she said.
“We plan to expand our reach within the Cincinnati Public Schools community with the goal of increasing student participation in tennis as well as building teams and leagues throughout the school district.”
Cioffi said the programs offered today by the Cincinnati Tennis Foundation are community-focused and include many free and scholarship-based options for families.
“We intend on continuing with this model as it relates to programming and utilizing the facility” at Withrow,” she said.
“The outdoor courts will be open and free to the community this summer when we are not running programming.”