You could be driving anywhere in the Cazenovia area and see hundreds of barns. These are mostly for animals, farming, or storage. Alolo is no different from the outside and you can easily drive past us. We wanted to blend in to this beautiful and peaceful community. Why would we change the landscape with signage, lighting or colors? Cazenovia has a very quiet agricultural feel that brought us here and we feel a responsibility to keep it that way. The local clients know what has been created inside the barn just for them. You will see us from a half mile away. Just turn into the driveway with 2 large boulders out front that is right next to Local Roots Farm.
What Exactly is the Barn?
The "Barn" by definition is a 132 x 60 post frame building with steel walls and roof. The "Barn" was engineered and constructed by Don Richards of Complete Construction Concepts out of Cortland. The CCC team brought their expertise in to help us realize our dream. It is home to one of the finest tennis courts in New York complete with a bathroom, full service pro shop and viewing area. The lighting is perfect and the temperature of the barn is the most comfortable for play. Our HealthWay Air Purification System ensures that every breath you take while playing tennis is the safest possible. Two overhead doors also provide additional ventilation if needed or give a welcome Fenner breeze during the Summer.
To quote a long time fellow tennis professional seeing it the first time "This is no barn!"
"You want to build what, where and when?"
We searched across CNY for a place to live, build our court and establish our business. Most areas would allow us to build an outdoor court, maybe a barn, but not have an indoor tennis facility. Our property was originally a farm, then purchased to be a multi home development but it has worked out perfectly for us from day one. The town of Fenner is exactly what we were looking for and has been nothing but helpful since the beginning.
It was a challenge from the beginning!
Most banks wanted nothing to do with us. "This will never happen" was the first response from a top executive at our prior bank of 18 years. There was nothing comparable, the building is too specialized, what is it truly worth, how could we ever re-sell it when this venture doesn't work? A huge thank you goes out to Brooke Gifford at Community Bank for seeing the vision, believing in us, and going the extra steps to make our dream come to reality!
Getting the Poles In
Challenges came quick as we started. The dirt wasn't strong enough so we had to add flowable fill into each footer. Huge boulders were the norm the further we dug down trying to clear the way. Three and a half feet of snow in 24 hours during a March storm slowed us down considerably, but we persevered.
Seeing the cranes, lifts, trucks, and manpower needed to place the trusses was impressive. We have such great respect and admiration for construction of all buildings after seeing first hand what was needed just for our barn.
Framework and Walls
Once the walls and framing started, we could see glimpses of the future. We had an early feel of the space, the court and how it would come to be. I can't even begin to tell you what "craftsman" are on the CCC crew. The GPS survey on the building shows that it is within less than 1/2 an inch of exact measurements on all corners.
Finishing the Shell and Interior
Steel Panels Going Up
The steel panels gave form to the building and allowed us to see and hear what it would be like. You never really know about lighting, weather, sound, shadows, or other variables until you're well down the construction path.
Restroom and Changing Area
Bringing water and electricity from the house was key into having what we wanted for the barn. There were challenges to overcome but the interior was quickly taking shape.
Preparing for the Asphalt
The shell was now complete, electric and water had been brought up, and the end was in sight. You can see from this picture and the one above the amount of stone that was still needed to bring the entire surface to grade. Once we had the additional rock in, the fine grading and rolling was done for hours and hours. After getting it laser leveled we were ready to begin the court.
Laying Down Asphalt
The day that the asphalt was laid down was 93 degrees and humid. The paver overheated several times as the building was approaching 115 degrees plus. The workers who laid it down were all artists. There were no lines between lanes and the outer edges were fantastic.
First Layers of the Court
Everything done to this point was to house the court. Bob Okoniewski is one of the best court builders in the US. He had made several courts for me in the past and he knew this one was special to our family. Watching him work and lay it down can only be appreciated if you love watching people that have truly mastered their craft. His constant "babysitting" of the court for weeks based on temperature, humidity, rain, or wind made such a difference. The paint strokes he made, controlling every inch of the court for layer after layer, contributed so much to the end product. This court has no bad bounces of any kind and is level to an 1/8th of an inch. We are treated everyday to playing on a "Grand Slam" quality court.
We couldn't do anything but appreciate the craftsmanship as we looked at the project. Watching the lines go down, the poles go in, and the net go up was a breath of fresh air. This was the first time we could actually see all of our choices come together.
Complete and Open for Business 10/1/18
Alolo officially opened up 10/1/18. Years of planning, buying the land, building a home, the Barn, and moving our family to Caz were finally coming to an end. Everyone has done their part to set us up for success. Now it's time for us to continue towards our goal and grow the business for years to come.
Finishing touches 2.0
The first year was a great start but we knew several upgrades would make the "Barn" even better. In the Fall of 2019 we finished insulating up to the ceiling, the back and side walls. This helped with the Winter heating bills and allows for a very welcome 16-18 degree difference in the summer. We stained all of the walls to have a great back drop for tennis then brought out the netting from the sides.
Special thanks go out to: Stefan, Traian, Gil, Brice, Matt, Jacob, Christy, and Emily for helping us make it all happen.
FINISHED AT LAST!
We love when a new client comes in and asks us "when are you going to finish it?" The clients that have been with us from the beginning understand how it all started, where we have been, and where we are going in the future. The stories of snow and rain coming inside, lesson temps of 20 degrees, or the wind howling in the first year are all TRUE! They have laughed, cried, sweat, and yelled along the way, but now everyone can clearly see our vision.
We look forward to many years of growing in a community that has embraced and supported our family in so many ways. In return, we will provide local players the support to compete for high school memories, sectional titles, college scholarships, or adults reaching new heights with their tennis games.