ITHF raising money for museum upgrades and more

August 12, 2013

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island has embarked on an extensive capital campaign with the goals of creating a cohesive campus and world-class tennis facility and offering an enhanced experience for visitors and the local community, all while supporting the organization’s mission of preserving the history of tennis and promoting the sport. The four primary focus areas of the campaign are to upgrade the museum with new technology and enhanced exhibitions; to add additional tennis courts and facilities; to improve campus-wide amenities including upgrades to the tennis stadium; and to strategically expand the Hall of Fame’s footprint. As part of all of these goals, the campaign also seeks to revitalize the streetscape on nearby Memorial Boulevard, to be complementary to the beautifully restored, historic buildings of the Newport Casino, in which the Hall of Fame is located.

It has been 12 years since the organization has led a major capital campaign. To accomplish the objectives of this project, the campaign has a financial goal of $15.7 million. Fundraising for the campaign has been underway for approximately one year, and at the organization’s meeting of the Board of Directors on July 13, 2013 it was announced that $10,556,000 of the necessary $15.7 million has been secured.

“We are grateful for the significant initial support the campaign has received. We hope that the greater community will embrace this campaign to help us raise the additional funds needed to complete this effort and move forward with the plans. The Hall of Fame brings a significant economic impact to the local community through visitors to the museum and special events, such as the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. These new plans will only further enhance our ability to drive business locally and to offer increased recreational and cultural programs for the local community, tourists, and tennis fans worldwide to enjoy. We look forward to working with the Newport community and the tennis community to make this vision a reality,” said Ed Woolard, campaign co-chairman, a longtime supporter of the Hall of Fame, and the former chairman of DuPont.

Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, who is co-chairing the campaign with Woolard, commented, “This is the one and only International Tennis Hall of Fame in the world, and every day, we strive to build on our programs to preserve the history of the sport and engage fans. The campaign for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will ensure that we can achieve our mission of preserving the history of tennis, that our facilities offer a world-class, one-of-a-kind experience for tennis enthusiasts, and that the property and our programs are a benefit to the local community.”

Campaign Vice Chairs are John Reese, Guillaume de Ramel, Alan Hassenfeld, Nancy von Auersperg, Barbara Georgescu, Steve Lewinstein, Kevin Kane, Butch Buchholz, Peter Palandjian, Dick Phelps, and Jane Brown Grimes, all of whom serve on the Board of Directors for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. John Arnhold, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee, is the Campaign Treasurer.

Specific capital improvements within the campaign are as follows. Construction on all aspects will begin on a to-be-determined date, contingent upon funding.

“The projects outlined in this campaign will significantly improve our programs, both in terms of cultural and recreational programming for the community and our museum’s efforts to be the leader in preserving the history of the sport and engaging fans,” said Mark L. Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “It is very important to the Hall of Fame that the construction projects are done with great care and thought, and so we have put significant time and resources into selecting the best team for the job. We see this as an opportunity to significantly grow and improve the Hall of Fame and its programs, as well as an opportunity to revitalize the nearby section of Memorial Boulevard in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and economic development.”

In developing the project, preliminary plans from six architectural firms were carefully reviewed by the building and design committee, which is comprised of Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser; Hall of Fame CEO Mark Stenning; Hall of Fame Vice Chairman Barbara Georgescu; Barbara van Beuren, a Newport philanthropist who is committed to historic preservation within the community; John Arnhold, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Executive Committee; and Dan Paquette, managing partner of SCM, LLC, the owner’s representative for the International Hall of Fame.

After a thorough review process of identifying an architecture and planning firm best suited to accomplish the campaign goals of expanding the Hall of Fame’s footprint within its architecturally and historically significant context, and of transforming a centrally located parcel of real estate in a manner that is in the best interest of the neighborhood, the architectural firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP (“RAMSA”) has been secured for the design of the project.

An internationally recognized architecture firm with a deep respect for history and a strong preservationist ethic, RAMSA possesses the necessary experience, expertise, and vision for the architectural design and urban planning of the project. Locally, RAMSA was responsible for the design of both the Rodgers Recreation Center (2000) and Our Lady of Mercy Chapel (2012) at Salve Regina University and the Nelson Fitness Center at Brown University (2012). Gary Brewer will serve as RAMSA’s Partner-in-Charge.

Additionally, Martha Werenfels, a principal at Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects, a 24-person firm in Providence, R.I. will consult and contribute to the project. Highly regarded for her expertise in historic preservation and restoration, Werenfels has been part of every major restoration project at the International Tennis Hall of Fame over the past 20 years. She has spent a great deal of time studying the work of the property’s original architects, McKim, Mead and White, as well as the unique Shingle Style architecture in which the facility was designed and built in 1880. Most recently, she oversaw the complete restoration of the Casino Theatre, a 295-seat venue on the property.

Shawmut Design and Construction has been selected as the construction manager. The firm has extensive experience in a great variety of industries ranging from historic properties and sports venues to restaurants and academic buildings. Shawmut has done many projects in the area, including work at Fenway Park, Brown University, Providence College, the Pawtucket Armory, Touro Synagogue in Newport, and St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I.

Terry Healy, principal of HealyKohler Design has been selected to lead the museum renovation project. HealyKohler Design creates a dynamic multi-layered visitor experience that integrates collections, immersive environments, media and interactive technologies, and interpretive graphics. The firm has particular expertise in sports museums, including the ACC Hall of Champions, Arnold Palmer Center of Golf History at the United States Golf Association, Carolina Basketball Museum, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It has been more than a decade since the last major renovation to the museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame chronicles the history of tennis from its origins through present day and showcases the lives and careers of the 235 individuals from 20 nations who have been honored with Hall of Fame enshrinement. Earlier this year, the museum became the first sports hall of fame to be honored with accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, which indicates that the museum is operating at the highest level of museum professional standards and that it demonstrates a commitment to excellence in all that it does.

Dan Paquette, managing partner of SCM, LLC is serving as the owner’s representative on the project. He will oversee functions including land acquisition and entitlements, budgets and schedules, selection and management of the Architect and CM, project coordination, fundraising support, and project closeout.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was established in 1954. The Hall of Fame is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide, and presenting tennis heroes and heroines with the highest honor in the sport of tennis-enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In 1986, the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis, officially recognized the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum as the sport’s official Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in the Newport Casino building and grounds, a National Historic Landmark and architectural masterpiece built in 1880 by renowned firm of McKim, Mead and White.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame contributes significantly to the recreational opportunities, cultural offerings, and economic health of Newport and the greater Aquidneck Island and Rhode Island communities, and it is a major partner within the tennis industry. The Hall of Fame’s programs and offerings continue to grow each year. The museum is open 363 days a year, offering free admission to children 16 and under, and providing educational and entertaining programming for both children and adults. The museum also maintains a significant research library dedicated to the sport of tennis, and featuring more than 350,000 books, images, and audio visual materials. A recreation facility open to the public, the Hall of Fame offers indoor tennis, lawn tennis, croquet and court tennis. As the venue for a professional tennis tournament, the Hall of Fame provides the public an opportunity to see top-ranked athletes from around the globe play in an intimate setting at the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, which draws thousands of visitors and fans who add to the local and regional economy. In addition, the International Tennis Hall of Fame offers a full range of cultural entertainment ranging from theatrical productions to movie screenings to musical entertainment and an annual architectural symposium-all hosted in the beautifully restored historic Casino Theatre on the property.

To further learn about the Capital Campaign for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, contact Christine Frost, chief development officer at 401-849-3990 or [email protected].