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The University has received a $250,000 donation for the construction of a building to house three indoor tennis courts. Tennis coach Jack Barnaby reported yesterday that investigations are in process "to determine whether the project is feasible within the available funds."
W. Palmer Dixon '25, is the benefactor. Dixon, one of the greatest Harvard squash players of all time, also sponsored the 1959 renovation of the University squash courts and the construction of the new galleries in Hemenway completed in the Fall of 1960.
The Corporation has accepted Dixon's gift without committing itself on how the money will be spent. The understanding is that the courts will be built only if construction and future maintenance costs fall within the promised $250,000.
Barnaby was optimistic, however, that "we'll be batting balls indoors by next season." He is currently hearing estimates for a building that would stand on space now occupied by the first four varsity courts on Soldiers Field.
According to Barnaby, the indoor courts would make possible the following:
* More practice and coaching for the Tennis team. "Tennis is impossible on Soldiers Field," says Barnaby, "it's either the rain or the wind. The indoor courts would make it possible "to build up players the way we do in squash. The way it is now, you can predict the outcome of the tennis league in the Fall--it's difficult for the coach to change anything."
* Scheduling and continuation indoors of league matches that are now rained out. With three indoor courts, the nine-match league contests could be played off in three shifts.
* A chance for the Faculty and students to play tennis during the winter. Depending upon maintenance costs, the building would probably be open to all takers in the off-season.
The projected courts would the be the first such in the Ivy League. Choate, a preparatory school in New York State, has indoor courts, and Yale has two makeshift canvas-covered courts in Payne-Whitney Gym. Harvard's courts would have the same surface as the varsity outdoor courts (standard green) to avoid any complaints about continuing indoors a match begun outside.
Dixon, the donor of the gift, won the national squash championship in 1925 when he was a Harvard senior, and in 1926. He was a master of position squash, and in 1946, when he was badly out of practice, he was still able to put up a tough fight against one of the leading professional players of the day: Jack Barnaby.
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