Friday, February 20, 2009

Grand Opening

Before I tell you about our Grand Opening, let me tell you about our Soft Opening. We will likely be able to open our doors for business sometime during the week of February 23rd. We have a few building inspections to pass, namely plumbing, fire, and HVAC, before we're allowed to officially open for business. I'll let people know as soon as we can.

Our Grand Opening weekend will be March 27/28th. We have two pros coming in to do clinics and to have an exhibition match. The idea for the weekend is to get as many people in the place as possible to try the club, play on the courts, and get a preview as to what we're about. All Grand Opening events are free and open to the public. Bring your squash kit and knock it around.

Preliminary schedule looks something like this:

Friday, March 27th. Open House 6:00pm--9:00pm
Any and all welcome to come and play on our beautiful Anderson Armourcoat Plaster courts--provided, of course, that you have non-marking shoes and wear eye protection. There will be refreshments.

Saturday, March 28th. Open House 10:00am--5:30pm
Squash Clinics with the pros, Mark Heather and Matt Jensen 12:00-4:00. We're thinking the guys will do 50 minute sessions with as many as 6 on a court. We'll do a little sign up sheet for that ahead of time so you know when to come.

Exhibition at 6:00.
Come watch a couple of guys who REALLY know what they're doing play a little squash.

Email or call (608-277-0655) with questions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Test Run

video

Had fifteen people over yesterday morning to give the courts a test run. It was a blast. Everyone seemed to have a great time and were all very eager to play at the club on a regular basis. Three people on every court with three more waiting. We played for two and a half hours and everyone couldn't wait to come back.

A couple of notable quotes:
"...wow, that's what squash is."

"Thanks again for letting us play in the construction site - I can't
wait until the place is open for real."

"Absolutely loved the courts. brought back memories of
playing on international-size courts in Pakistan."

"...awesome."

Friday, February 13, 2009

The BAF



The Big Ass Fan was installed this week and the boys turned it on. It's a piece of art, as far as industrial ceiling fans go. The point of it is to de-stratify the air in rooms with very high ceilings. It moves very slowly and pulls the warm air down from the ceiling. It's suppose to save us a bundle on our heating bills in the winter. It uses the equivalent energy of a 100W light bulb. Considering it's size, that's pretty efficient.

All the courts are finished. The paint is curing and will be ready to be played on in another day.

We're shooting for occupancy in one week. A few things have to happen in that time, namely getting our plumbing in, staining the concrete floors, installing bleachers, installing the counter tops, finishing the bar like area, and installing the carpet. James from Wyldewood Construction thinks it can happen this coming week. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Still a construction Site



The place is still a construction site, despite being able to play on court one and having a chair to sit on. The Anderson guys will be finished with their work by the end of Wednesday, then we have to wait three days for the paint to dry on the floor lines. I know people are eager to play over there but it's still a construction site.

Finish work is progressing. Slowly. The tile in the restrooms is done, but now we wait for the concrete stain on the floors and then the plumbing fixtures. Maybe this week? The plumbers only want to come one more time to do their install.

Electricians are changing over the power today. That will effectively stop all other work for at least an hour today. Once that's finished we'll be able to turn all the lights on.

They have to build and finish the bar-like area and put in the counter-tops, but again, we're still waiting for some things to show up. Seems we're in waiting mode again. Reminds me of waiting for the concrete to be poured or the dang ceiling to be finished. A lot is going to get done in the next two weeks, but it's still really frustrating to wait.

Recently a friend told me a Buddhist expression that goes something like this: Good at the beginning, good in the middle, good at the end. I'm keeping that in mind as I try to wait patiently and not push the contractors to hurry up.

So, as you may have noticed in my last 3000-word post (since a picture is worth 1000) we did break in the first court. How does it feel, you might ask? Well, I gotta say, it's pretty incredible. I've played on plaster courts before, but probably not with the same amount of attention. I've spent the last 15 years or so playing on the wood courts at the venerable Nielsen Tennis Stadium. While a nice material, the walls have been painted many times so the ball tends to skid a little on the walls. They have recently sanded the floors down to an au natural finish which has been a HUGE improvement in predictable ball behavior, but still the ball will skid on the walls a bit.

Panel wall courts tend to be very loud and echoey, and the ball loses all it's texture within about 30 minutes so it just skids like crazy all over the place.

ASB courts are another sort of panel option, but the walls are seamless and filled with sand so that they have a very solid feel to them and a true bounce. There is some sort of paint on the walls with a little texture so balls bounce true and don't skid on the walls. A very nice court.

Which brings us to plaster. When Pete the Plasterer first finished a wall, I was pretty amazed at how glass-smooth the plaster is. From experience, I know that the balls don't skid on plaster, but I'm looking at this stuff thinking, how could this be? These walls are smooth as glass... Be that as it may, when the ball touches the plaster, the wall seems to grab the ball, slow it down, and kick it out into the middle of the court. I said a while ago in a post how good straight walls reward good play. You could also say, that they punish poor play. With sticky plaster walls, if you hit a ball that strikes the side wall at any angle at all, it's going to come out into the center of the court. That's not good.

A number of times over the last few days, I've hit what I thought was going to be fairly decent length, only to be a bit surprised that when my ball hit the side wall maybe a little short, then slowed down drastically and came off the wall so my opponent had all sorts of time to send me flailing away into a far corner. It's quite dramatic and will take getting used to.

Now that said, when you do hit good length that stays tight against the wall and you force a weak return, boy can punish the meatball that comes out into the middle of the court. It's brilliant, and that's what we mean by a court rewarding you for good play.

Anyway, the courts are great. They rank up there with the nicest I've played on. The floors are beautifully sprung, the lighting is excellent, and the sound of the ball striking the head wall is flat out brilliant. So satisfying.

Now if we can only get the rest of the contractors out of the place... Nice guys and all, but I'm ready for you to go!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Court 1



Court 1 is about finished. They were installing glass on Sunday, the line on the front wall, and the tin. They need to sand the floor, then paint the line. Probably do that tomorrow. They had to wait around a bit today because one of the other workers was creating a bit of dust and they didn't want to silicone the glass or paint the line because it would get all dusty. Anyway, after they pain the line it'll be a good 3 days for the paint to cure. Agonizing wait, to be sure.

In the mean time, they put up the net between courts one and two and began working on the sleepers for court two. They'll start getting those down tomorrow and maybe get some subfloor down as well.

Outside the court area, the Wyldewood boys put up the lyptus wall and it looks fantastic. Our lockers arrived as well and they installed those on Friday. Tile in the women's room is finished and they'll move on to the men's room this week.



We're still hung up a little bit with our electric. The guys have been operating on temporary power so the only lights that actually work are the lights over the courts. Electric One has to shut down power to the building for an hour or so to make some big changes, but then everything should work. I'm looking forward to it because most of the lighting is in and it'll be great see stuff actually work.

This power delay is becoming a bit of a problem too because apparently the floor sanding equipment uses some serious juice so they can't plug the sander into the temporary power supply. Jordan was a bit down in the mouth today because he wanted to get after that (among other things) but had to resort to working on the court sleepers. Dude, I feel your pain. I've been waiting on various aspects of this project since September.