Tennis Bubble deflates after storm, affects teams and classes on campus

The deflated tennis bubble sits on the ground after the Sept. 16 storm. Photo by Zach Horrall. 


The Tennis Bubble deflated on Sept. 16 due to a power outage.

The bubble requires constant use of fans to maintain inflation. The motors and fans burnt out when the outage took place, collapsing the bubble.

The tennis courts are located behind Hinkle Fieldhouse, near the Butler Bowl and baseball field.

Rich Michal, executive director of facilities, has worked at Butler for five years and said he has not seen anything quite like this.

“We always want to make sure our facilities are operational, functional and safe for students, athletes and faculty,” Michal said.

The electric facilities, located behind the vacated Schwitzer Residence Hall, provide power to 75 percent of campus. The other 25 percent is powered by Indianapolis Power and Light and encompasses the north end of campus and the tennis bubble.

Although the main spring tennis season has not started yet, it affected many people. The club tennis team is currently in season and cancelled practice for a week.

Andrew Koelper, club tennis president and intramural supervisor, said he tried to find alternate times to use the outdoor facilities, but none worked for the team. He decided to not practice off-campus due to possible costs.

“I had not thought of this happening to the tennis bubble,” Koelper said. “I truly appreciate everything the folks from athletics and facilities did to get the tennis bubble back up within a week.”

Sophomore Claire Webster currently takes the advanced tennis Physical Well Being class, taught Tayo Bailey, head coach for women’s tennis. As part of the Core Curriculum, Butler students are required to enroll in a PWB course.

“When I first heard [the bubble] was deflated, I was very confused,” Webster said. “Our professor later explained what happened.”

Although the class typically uses the outdoor courts, the indoor courts are used during inclement weather. However, cracks on the outdoor courts were being repaired on Monday when advanced tennis takes place, so Bailey had no choice but to cancel class.

“It’s an inflatable fixture so something can always happen,” Bailey said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but there’s always a chance it can happen.”

Before the Health and Recreation Complex was built in 2006, the tennis bubble was located where the HRC currently sits, and it was there that the last deflation occurred. This deflation was due to vandalism, not a power outage, Michal said.

The tennis bubble was reinflated last Wednesday after the motors and fans were replaced.