The skeleton for a new $2 million tennis center is nearly complete at Genesis Health Club's West Central location, with the center's opening planned for early March.
Owner Rodney Steven II said the 33,000-square-foot addition on the west side of the fitness club at 854 N. Socora will house five climate-controlled indoor tennis courts.
An addition, the fitness club will add a second-floor group fitness studio and a "Grand Slam" room for tennis viewing. They will open about 45 days after the tennis center.
Much of the west wall of the fitness club will be replaced with glass so that the tennis courts will be in view of those working out.
"It's really going to marry tennis and fitness together," Steven said.
Jack Oxler will be director of the tennis center, Steven said. Oxler has experience as a player and coach and has a background in managing a tennis facility.
The tennis center has been one of Steven's longtime goals. As he was growing up, "I would always have to drive way over to the east side to play," he said. "The west side of Wichita has needed this for 30 years."
The tennis center will resemble the one at the Genesis Rock Road location but be "30 years newer," Steven said. All the courts on the west side will be air-conditioned; not all are at the Rock Road facility. The east tennis center has eight indoor courts and three more under a "bubble."
Rock Enterprises is the general contractor for the West Central project.
It also is doing the work on Steven's Genesis club in Salina, a project he announced a little more than a year ago.
A temporary 30,000-square-foot fitness club has opened there. The $7 million Salina club will have 70,000 square feet — 40,000 square feet of new construction plus space that's being retrofitted. It will have four indoor tennis courts.
Steven expects the Salina facility to open in late March. It will have 40 to 50 employees; about a third of them have been hired.
Eight employees will be added at the West Central location.
Starting the West Central project in a down economy "took a little extra courage," Steven said, but the interest that's been shown in a west-side indoor tennis facility has made him "really confident" about it.
"I see it as almost an all-time high right now," he said of Wichita's interest in tennis.
As with the Rock Road location, members will have an upgrade fee for the facility. Junior tennis-only memberships will be available for those under age 18.