Construction is expected to begin in May on a 14,400-square-foot enclosure for two tennis courts at Brenau University’s Smithgall Tennis Complex, thanks to a $333,000 contribution from an anonymous donor.
Plans for the steel enclosure for two of the complex’s eight courts have been on the shelf for close to four years as the university looked for a way to pay for the construction.
Athletic Director and tennis coach Gordon Leslie, however, says the donation means that the enclosed courts could be ready for use when students return to campus for the fall semester in late August.
"We are overjoyed and extremely grateful to receive this donation," Leslie said. "This will enable our intercollegiate team to practice year-round and that will help us achieve our goal of winning another national championship."
Carroll Daniel Construction Co. of Gainesville has been contracted to build the building.
The donation was made in memory of the late Charles Smithgall, whose generosity paid for construction of the existing tennis center. Smithgall and his wife, Lessie, an emeritus member of Brenau’s board of trustees, founded The Times, Gainesville’s daily newspaper, in 1947, and six years later, the city’s first radio station, WGGA. Both Smithgall and his wife, who resides in Gainesville, were avid tennis enthusiasts for decades.