Abandoned Olympic Tennis Stadium (Stone Mountain Tennis Center) - Sheednomics


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Nov 15, 2016

Abandoned Olympic Tennis Stadium (Stone Mountain Tennis Center)

In Summer of 1996, Atlanta was chosen to host the Olympics out of five cities across the world in a bid between Athens, Toronto, Melbourne, Manchester and Belgrade in 1992. Some stadiums already existed in Atlanta such as the Georgia Dome, Omni Coliseum, and Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. A few more stadiums were built in Atlanta for the games, such as the Centennial Olympic Stadium (Turner Field), Forbes Arena, and the Stone Mountain Tennis Center (built 26 miles from the center of Atlanta).

Stadium during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games 

Stone Mountain Tennis Center broke ground in 1992 near the former Stone Mountain Britt Memorial Airport at the Northern end of the runway which closed prior to the Olympic Stadium Opening in 1996. The stadium was built with not enough parking spaces to accommodate the large crowds so the runway that belonged to the airport was used for extra parking at the time. The runway gave the stadium an additional 100 acres of parking to add to the stadium's limited spaces of 500.

During Construction of the tennis stadium, the city had signed a Settlement Agreement in 1993 for the Disabilities Act of 1990. Upon the civil law requirements, there was an investigation made to make sure that the Olympic Stadium was built to help accommodate those with disabilities to include constructing the proper ramps to access the stadium, handicapped bathrooms, handicapped spaces, and proper wheel chair seating area. 

The roughly 20 million dollar Stadium was used/built to host the 1996 Tennis Events during the 1996 Summer Olympics games from July 23rd to August 2nd; approximately 11 days. The stadium had over 12,000 seats during the Olympics as well as different amenities such as: 15 smaller tennis courts, a gift shop, a plaza with flag poles displaying each of the different countries competing in the games and two additional courts that seated between 2000 and 4000. Post Olympics, the stadium was reconfigured into 7,000 seats; similar to Centennial Olympic Stadium converting into Turner Field for the Braves Baseball Team in hopes of bringing a National Tennis League for the state. 

In 1997, the stadium briefly hosted the 1997 Women's  Hard Court Championships from August 18th to August 24th as part of a Tier II 1997 WTA Tour.

The Olympic tennis stadium was used to host other smaller events up until it's final closure in 2007. The stadium had many proposals throughout the years which all failed; especially when the area around the stadium started to show decline. The Super Target that sat next to the stadium closed in 2010 due to declining profits. 

On October 8, 2016, I took a visit with a few others to the stadium to see how it was holding up since it's closure was over 9 years ago.

Upon arriving at the abandoned stadium all entrances were fenced off and locked to prevent trespassers from coming in.  Needless to say, I was still able to get a good view of it. The stadium has two entrances where one would lead you to the front of the stadium to where the parking lot is and the other towards the rear of the stadium where the players parked. Both entrances have grass growing through the concrete and overgrown trees and shrubs.

The stadium appears to be in good condition when far away but when up close, the deterioration of the stadium is highly visible as well as the damages that were done by vandals who broke in. The stadium has major cracks on the actual concrete structure, heavy graffiti written on the walls, and was trashed severely.

Going inside the actual stadium where the seating was reminded me of the seating at Turner Field, but smaller in a sense, because it's not a major league baseball field, but simply a large, once Olympian tennis court. When inside the stadium, the former center court net can be heard dragging on the concrete from the wind, as well as the the cars from the nearby Highway 78 entering and exiting the ramps. One thing that kept occurring was a loud slam, like a door being slammed shut every 10 minutes.  It almost felt as if someone else was in there, but to the naked eye there were no others besides my crew. Most seats were still intact, with a few broken or missing, as if someone removed them.

Going into the actual building of the stadium under the seating area was very dark and a flashlight was needed due to the stadium having very low lighting. All that was housed under the stadium were the offices, conference rooms, offices, locker rooms, media rooms, elevators, and restrooms. It reminded me of a school with empty classrooms or a doctor's office. The front doors that lead to the building from the outside were not boarded, but chained locked.

The stadiums interior is in bad condition compared to the exterior of the stadium. The inside is badly damaged with ceiling tiles falling down, electrical wiring hanging, broken mirrors, heavy molding, strong odor smell and every single toilet in the building being shattered. When walking into the locker rooms, you can always tell that someone else before you has already shuffled through items as the locker room is completely trashed. The showers and sinks were still intact and so I personally decided to turn the shower on and instantly water began to rush out. 

Furniture remained, such as: desks, computers, filling cabinets of records, chairs, sofas, conference tables. Some items that stood out were old tennis balls that were found throughout the rooms and K-Swiss branded items like pictures, key-chains, and banners, so I assumed K-Swiss was a sponsor at the stadium at one period of time. 

The only building that seems to be well preserved is the former gift shop which is a small stand alone building that sits next to the actual stadium. Today it is used as a planning office to map out the future of the stadium which was recently announced for demolition. Inside the former gift shop were blueprints of the entire site including historical pictures of  the actual stadium. 

I highly recommend not going to any abandoned place or structure alone and to always be accompanied by someone you trust. 


The Outer Tennis Courts 

A view down from the top row 




1 comment:

  1. Sheednomices,
    I own the Hawaii Tennis open and several other events around the world. Can you give me a call on the stadium. Ben Goldsmith 512-590-4234


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