The University of Alabama Adapted Athletics program has officially opened the Parker-Haun tennis facility, which is now the only collegiate tennis facility of its kind in the nation.

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“Our champion student-athletes in Adapted Athletics now have a championship-caliber facility in which to train and compete,” said University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell. “Through the dedicated support of the Parker and Haun families and all who generously donated, our program will continue to set the standard of excellence for collegiate adapted athletics.”

The facility was made possible by a $500,000 donation from both the Parker and Haun families in addition to an additional $370,000 from 21 other donors. The brand new facility includes locker rooms, restrooms, a trainer’s room and offices for the coaching staff.

Tim Parker Jr., who is the chairman of the Parking Towing Company, a Northport-based barge line said that living in Tuscaloosa makes the university a huge part of his life and he wanted to serve it in any way he could.

"“Living in Tuscaloosa, we’re certainly aware of all the good things the university does, not just for the students they educate, but the public service, their involvement in community activities and helping the state of Alabama grow and prosper," Parker Jr. said.

Brent Hardin, who is the director of UA Adapted Athletics, believes that the new facility will make a huge difference when it comes to opportunities for athletes.

"People don’t realize adapted athletes need the same facilities, equipment, opportunities and resources that other athletes do,” he said. “Once people see our athletes and what we’re doing, they want to get involved. They want to help, and they do, and it makes such a difference.”

The Parker-Haun facility will also allow the wheelchair tennis program to  expand adapted tennis clinics hosted for local children and increase awareness of the sport.

“We have grants for clinics in the community before and after our season,” said Hardin. “We are able to put kids in specialized chairs and we teach them about wheelchair tennis. We’ll be able to do a much better job of that. We’ll also expand access to other kids with disabilities in the state of Alabama who want to learn about wheelchair tennis.”

There is an official ribbon cutting planned for the facility on October 1st.

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