When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Dr Alyson Paul looked for a way to connect with people and get exercise. The Dean of Students at the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Gainesville Campus discovered pickleball.
“I started playing during COVID because it was an outdoor activity that allowed for socialization and social distancing,” said Paul, who plays at a Habersham County club.
Next spring, she aims to play on the brand new pickleball courts next to the Hugh Mills physical education complex on the Gainesville campus. The current tennis courts are being renovated into four pickleball courts, two basketball courts, two arena football fields, two tennis courts and green spaces.
The plan to downsize and renovate the eight aging tennis courts is part of the university’s master plan for outdoor and recreational spaces on the Gainesville campus. But transforming the tennis courts into a transitional multi-court space became a higher priority in the summer of 2021.
“When the Hugh Mills gymnasium became a site for the mass COVID-19 vaccination, we had to find another space for the kinesiology department to teach,” said Derek Leonard, director of Campus Recreation and Wellness. and Student Facilities of the UNG. “We also wanted space for our intramural basketball and other activities.”
Construction began in late October with a backhoe demolishing the concrete slabs and fences.