Sign Project: University New Tennis Center
University of Redlands, New Tennis Center
Materials & Signs:
Aluminum Cabinet Sign, Bronze Cast Plaques, Bas-Relief, Aluminum Composite Material (ACM), Acrylic, Max Metal, Brush Gold Aluminum, Acrylic Sign with Lamination
It’s a new year, and A & I have definitely gotten into the swing of things.
In tennis, love is a word that represents a score of zero and has been used as such since the late 1800s. It’s not perfectly clear how this usage of love came to be, but the most accepted theory is that those with zero points were still playing for the “love of the game” despite their losing score.
To win the game, a player must win at least four points. You win the game if you are up 40-30, 40-15, or 40-love and win one more point. If the score is tied in a game or set, you use the term “all” when announcing the score.
For example, if you and your opponent have both won two points in the game, the score would be 30-all. Tennis has a unique way of scoring compared to other sports, and some can find it confusing.
What wasn’t confusing at all was when the University of Redlands enlisted A&I to help bring a vision to life to honor a beloved coach with a new tennis center. This project is LOVE of a whole different meaning for UofR, its alums, faculty, and students.
From Groundbreaking August 2022 to Ribbon Cutting on January 28, 2023
University [of Redlands] celebrates with a new Tennis Center named after an admired man and legendary coach. [read article]
Jim Verdieck was a native of Escondido and a former student-athlete who played football at Stanford University. In 1946 he started as an assistant football coach at Redlands and went on to become head coach of both the football and tennis teams. He helmed the football squad until 1958 but remained the head tennis coach for over 37 years, retiring in 1984.
The decision to name the new tennis center after Coach Jim Verdieck was a no-brainer for the University of Redlands (UofR). This new facility will be monumental for the future, current and former players. “Coach Verdieck was undoubtedly one of the most successful coaches in college tennis history, and the new facility will honor his legendary career.”
The new Coach Jim Verdieck Tennis Center would feature 12 lighted courts on a post-tension concrete playing surface, and two digital scoreboards, allowing their men’s and women’s teams to compete simultaneously. This facility will enable UofR to host regional tournaments and NCAA championship matches.
It won’t be all erased and made brand new. In the groundbreaking of the new site, the asphalt from the old tennis courts will be grinded up and used for the base of the new facility. It ensures that the new tennis courts, and the University of Redlands tennis program, will stand as a beacon for college tennis with the legacy of Jim Verdieck embedded in its foundations.
Several members of the Verdieck family attended the Ribbon cutting ceremony, including Jim’s youngest son, Randy Verdieck, who also serves on the Tennis Campaign Leadership Committee. This volunteer group of alumni and friends has been instrumental in the project’s fundraising efforts, which are still ongoing. Leadership donors have named courts, on-court spectator viewing areas, and benches, with several naming opportunities still available for the project.
This project, like others, started with a vision of what the University wanted the project to look like when finished. A project like this involves many moving parts and more people than a championship. Architects, Engineers, Designers, Fund Raisers, to name a few, along with A&I.
Every project has its challenges, and this one was no exception. The University envisioned a large sign at the entrance of the Tennis Center to hang high above the gated facility. The sign is cast in painted aluminum, measures 200” wide by 15” tall, in Times New Roman font, with each letter thickness 3/8” and 7” tall. It was fabricated as a cabinet, constructed of 1.5” aluminum angle stud, mounted with a removable back, and painted in polyurethane with the University of Redlands maroon color.
On the installation day of this sign, a big piece of the fenced gate had been removed! Many phone calls later and with quick scheduling to get the missing piece of fence re-installed before our team could step back in to get the sign in its rightful place. Challenge conquered.
Two 18” x24” bronze cast plaques would be mounted at the right of the entrance to the tennis center. The top plaque featured a 3-D portrait of Coach Verdieck. This art form is called (bas-relief \bah-rih-LEEF/noun)
Pronounced bah-relief, the term originally stems from the Italian phrase “basso-relievo” which directly translates to low relief. Artists create a bas-relief by sculpting onto a 2D plane to create and accentuate figures and objects, producing a 3D appearance that can be viewed from all angles with little distortion.
Some of the earliest known bas-reliefs are on the walls of caves, perhaps 30,000 years ago. Petroglyphs—images pecked into the walls of caves or other rock surfaces, using shadowing and color, which helped accentuate the reliefs.
What is a Bronze Bas-Relief Portrait Plaque?
Bas relief is a sculpting style used to create three-dimensional figures raised above a flat background. These images are hand-sculpted by artisans using a photo you submit for reference. In this case, it was the smiling face of a well-loved Coach.
The bas-relief portrait was cast in bronze, approximately 6.68” x 10”. It was then attached to the precision tooled plaque. The second plaque was 18” x24” and cast with a leatherette with brushed onyx like the first one, and the letters were in bronze.
There are other options available for this type of plaque. Most are not as expensive or time-consuming. You might choose etched, photo relief, flat relief, or a UV print. All of these are durable and will last for many years.
The cast plaques, the etched plaques for the donor wall, and the max metal gold brushed aluminum composite for the benches were custom etched and needed to be shipped. The challenge of the plaques was weight. They are heavy and large and need to be shipped with protective materials, making the boxes even bigger.
Another challenge was the donor wall. Most of the plaques had arrived and were installed by our team in time for the January ribbon-cutting ceremony. However, there were a few last-minute donors that the University wanted to recognize. But outsourcing it with an extended shipping time was not an option.
To make this happen, A&I printed on a material whose properties were very close to a bronze look-a-like. Although not etched, just printed with black ink, it became a perfect placeholder until we could receive the bronze plaques. Once again, our A&I team came together to save the day, allowing the additional donors to be recognized for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
A&I printed twelve 10×10 white aluminum composite material (ACM) court signs with donor names and court numbers. A black backer was put on the fence sandwiched in between to attach these ACM signs with posts. A more prominent sign was printed for the training court. Twenty-eight bench signs were printed on white ACM using black text with donor names and quotes. These will be adhered to the benches with double-stick tape and silicone.
Not only did the University get a new live mascot, Bulldog puppy (#8) George Willis, but they also added two beautiful acrylic 40×40 Bulldog signs for school spirit. Back printed and laminated for protection, these colored spirited signs won’t be easily missed. Displayed in a spotlight cove at the center.
A&I also back printed on acrylic the leadership support plaques featuring the accolades of Coach Jim Verdieck, memorable pictures, and a separate plaque with the Team National Champions. The acrylic signs are attached with 1” post stand-offs in a second spotlight cove.