Pickleball court construction considerations for communities and municipalities
Pickleball is quickly becoming a go-to sport for people of all ages. Although it was invented in 1965, the game is growing in popularity at a staggering rate. According to the USAPA, in 2001, there were 1,741 players, and by 2017 that had increased to 2.815 million players. So if you are looking to create an exciting venue for athletes and enthusiasts in your community – you can’t go wrong with a pickleball court.
Like any sports facility project, pickleball court construction requires some upfront planning to ensure success. Suppose you don’t consider certain factors in the early stages of construction. In that case, you could leave yourself open to some serious challenges.
You can also try our pickleball court cost calculator, if you are planning to build a court and want to get a quick and accurate cost estimate for your project.
Pickleball Court construction options
Your starting point will significantly impact the costs and materials needed for completion. The work involved in constructing a new pickleball court will far outweigh that of simple conversion. Read more about the overall costs of installing a pickleball court in our separate article.
However, in all instances, there are some key points to consider for construction:
1 – Installation of a new pickleball court
A fresh installation of a pickleball court offers the most flexibility in construction. However, because you are starting from raw space, it requires the most money, labor, and equipment.
Here are some of the considerations you need to make:
- Number of courts
- Building facilities and amenities for players and spectators – like restrooms, stands, and seating
- Grading and clearing to ensure even pickleball surfaces
- Surface materials
- Nets and other equipment
To simplify the process, some vendors offer pickleball court kits for purchase. These ready-to-use (RTUs) courts allow sports facilities to build their court quickly. Kits range in price, so you have some options to fit your budget.
2 – Resurfacing an old pickleball court
If your team plans to resurface an existing court, your primary focus will be on materials and labor.
Perhaps your surface is already level. There are many vendors and suppliers for acrylic resurfacing materials. These surface coats are usually sold in 30 and 55-gallon containers. You or your partner will apply multiple layers (according to specific instructions) of the surface, cushion, and sealer.
3 – Converting a tennis court to a pickleball court
When converting an underutilized space such as a defunct tennis or basketball court, you need to understand key differences. A pickleball court’s size needs and specifications are different from other sports.
Pickleball courts are smaller in comparison – measuring only 20′ x 44′ for both singles and doubles events. This is good news for those retrofitting an existing space. Depending on the size of the current court, you may be able to fit more than one pickleball court into the same area. You are maximizing the usefulness of the space while keeping costs low.
If you still want to offer access to sports other than pickleball, you can convert your space to shared use. In this scenario, multiple sports can use your court at any given time. When figuring out the necessary dimension requirements for numerous events, this can get pretty complex. We recommend consulting a court installation expert early in the process.
Pickleball court construction: Planning phase
After you’ve established your budget and developed a strategy for funding, you’ll need to begin planning your construction.
Planning your construction begins with choosing a site. Many schools and community centers utilize old and unused tennis and basketball courts. Others are choosing to create their pickleball court with existing playing surfaces.
Whether starting from scratch or retrofitting an existing court, you’ll need to conduct a site survey. A professional site survey will identify critical issues and needs for your project. You’ll establish a plan for leveling ground beneath the court, and it will reveal possible problems with your site before construction begins.
A proper site survey safeguards your project from costly delays or worse.
In addition to the logistical benefits of site surveys, they are imperative for securing building permits. Local and state regulations will determine the number and type of permits you will need to bring your project to fruition.
Construction Documents & Specifications
Once your plan set and the site survey has been completed, you can develop constructiois n documents and specifications.
These documents provide a detailed list of all aspects of the project and will help ensure that nothing falls through the cracks in the days ahead.
Construction plans, reports, and other supporting documentation are essential when receiving the permits necessary for construction.
Choosing the best pickleball court surface
As with any sport, the surface you choose will significantly impact the level of play for your new pickleball court. There are many different brands and types of court surfaces from which to choose.
There are three primary concerns when choosing a pickleball court surface:
- Safety for players
- The durability of the material
- On-going maintenance requirements
Generally speaking, acrylic surface coats are the most durable compared to other coating materials like asphalt or epoxy resin. The latter can be pretty slippery – especially if installed outdoors – causing traction issues for players.
Asphalt coatings are the least expensive but require more routine upkeep with patching and resealing to ensure they don’t break down over time.
Acrylic is a solid all-around choice for any new court, especially with older players in mind.
Amenities to consider
To create a comprehensive construction plan for your pickleball court, there are a few more items to consider:
1 – Lighting
Especially if your court is outdoors, lighting will be vital to your installation. To better understand lighting a sports venue, check out this article about LED lighting for pickleball courts.
2 – Fencing
Pickleball is a fast-paced game, and depending on your site, you may want to install fencing around the perimeter. This helps cut down on lost balls, keeps players safe from interference, and helps contain the game in a confined space.
3 – Roof or dome
If you’re planning an outdoor pickleball court, you’ll need to consider the elements. Installing a roof or dome will help maintain your surface. Especially if you are in a wet climate, shielding both the court and players from precipitation (or cold) will keep everyone safe. Plus, it establishes your new pickleball court as a year-round venue for activity.
Budgeting and financing considerations
One of the first items to consider when developing a plan for a pickleball court is your budget. How much are you hoping to spend on the project? Establishing your maximum budget will inform important decisions throughout the planning phase of your project.
The next item to consider is the source of funding for your court. When building a pickleball court, there are three main options:
1 – Private funding
Community fundraising events or private donations are a great way to generate the funds needed for completion.
2 – Financing
Your school or community center can also secure financing through the private sector. Loans for construction can cover much of what’s needed to build the best facility.
3 – Grants
There are many options for grants that your project can utilize. However, you’ll need to know which local authority holds the purse strings for your project. We’ve written more about pickleball court grants in a separate article.
If you’re wondering how much your pickleball court might cost, you can use this calculator for an estimate. With some basic information, your team can secure an approximate number for the completion of construction.