Over its almost century-long history, the KTC clubhouse has been the social centre of Kingston's tennis experience. Members and guests first socialized mainly on the covered porch and upper deck, and later also on the newly-built patio deck extension. The clubhouse itself, a fairly utilitarian structure, has been a useful backdrop, but it has never lived up to its best potential.
Now is the time to change that, and to ensure that redesigning and slightly expanding both indoor and outdoor spaces will create an exciting new clubhouse dynamic without dramatically altering the existing building. This should retain the familiar comforts of our club such as the large covered porch, while adding dynamic upgrades such as migrating the steward kiosk/ club office down to the deck, and opening up the second floor at the same time. Good design creates a sense of place and time, and encourages interaction by creating an emotional connection that helps us feel at ease.
We are still at the preliminary stage of designing and costing this project. We welcome your input to help us create a good, functional design, and ready KTC for the next hundred years!
The first several questions and answers below relate to questions that were left over after time ran out at the AGM: Q. Does the board plan to pursue the tax deduction donation platform once the project cost has been decided? A. We will definitely be looking into this. Since we expect that fund-raising will be one essential element of financing the clubhouse project, tax deductibility of donations will be important to this effort. Q. If we have about 300,000 to 350,000 cash to put towards this project, what then would be a comfortable debt load to carry? A. The level of debt we are able to carry is determined by the Club’s ability to carry the costs associated with this debt (both interest and principal repayment. Right now, annual carrying costs of no more than $20,000 to $25,000 would be prudent given the uncertainty of our revenues and cash flow because of COVID. At current interest rates, this translates into a debt level of about $300,000 to $400,000. When we return to more normal annual cash flow (post-COVID) this debt level might increase slightly. We will review these numbers as we gain clarity of the 2021 season. Q. I do wonder if the loss of opportunity for an 8th court has been considered in light of the fact that we were pretty booked all mornings and afternoons and with the addition of summer camps this coming summer, it might be very hard to get courts? A. The Board debated the pros and cons of building on the west lawn versus restoring/ expanding the existing clubhouse. The possible 8th court opportunity cost was an integral part of our discussions. In these discussions, we recognized the need to balance the advantages of extra court capacity -about 14 percent more- with the possible negative impact of losing the separation between courts 1 and 7. The current setup works well for instructional programs, and is favoured by many members, including those with young children. One extra court will not eliminate the shortage of courts at peak times during the height of the season. Long term, we must explore other ways to increase court capacity, including possible use of public city courts for some of our programs. We also need to better manage the existing 7 courts to ensure that all players have equal access (i.e., one booked court per day) while guest booking rules are also followed. Q. Will there be access to change rooms when the steward is not on duty? A. In addition to the regular change rooms and washrooms, the plan for a renovated clubhouse calls for an accessible washroom which will be available to members at all times until the water system is drained in the late fall. When a steward is not on duty, the entrance to the main clubhouse will be closed so there would be no access to the interior change rooms or washrooms (or any other part of the clubhouse.). Q. If we want to increase revenue from the camps, we need to ensure that the camp experience is good and that includes air conditioning. Will the new clubhouse have air conditioning? A. While the clubhouse walls and roof will be insulated, which will mitigate temperature fluctuations and thus provide some cooling in summer, there are no current plans to have it air conditioned. We don’t believe air conditioning is either sensible or practical given that the clubhouse would then have to be tightly sealed requiring the AC to run all summer long. Tennis is an outdoor activity and the campers are outside on the courts or on the lawn for the vast majority of time. We will look into sun/shade sails or some other structure to provide a comfortable shaded area on the lawn for campers - and others. Q. Can there be a forum page added to the website that would allow for more open communication and ability to have discussions. A. Open communication with members has been and will continue to be an important part of this process. As you may have read in the January 2021 KTC Courtside, this ‘question and answer’ forum has been set up on the KTC website. Most of your questions or comments will be directed to the Clubhouse Working Group for a response. Please keep in mind that it might occasionally take a few days for a response to be posted. Q. Will we have a general membership meeting soon, followed by a membership vote on the clubhouse project? Electing the Board can’t be equated with a vote in favour of the clubhouse project. A. The ‘restore and expand’ clubhouse project remains the Board’s highest priority for 2021. We are still at a very preliminary stage in the project’s development. At this point (January), we have no further detail on the clubhouse project other than what we presented at the December AGM. (Please note that all current visual renderings and documents are on the website, under Reference Documents). As soon as we receive updated, more refined drawings (blueprints) and in particular, more accurate cost estimates (likely in spring 2021), we will circulate these to the membership for comments and input. You have our commitment as a Board that we will be open and transparent in the coming months and keep members fully informed at every stage. We note that the 2021 Board was overwhelmingly affirmed at the December AGM and we remain confident that the majority of members support the direction we are pursuing, carefully and with due diligence. Once we reach a critical decision point (likely months away), our membership will be the first to know and the first to be consulted. Whether this is through a special meeting or online forum of some type has yet to be decided.