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New roofed court to debut for US Open – video

A second roofed court will make its debut at the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York in August.

The new Louis Armstrong court has a retractable roof and is the final phase of a five-year, $600 million project that rebuilt the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

It will be the first naturally ventilated stadium of its kind with a retractable roof, with openings at the north and south ends allowing air to flow through even when the roof is closed.

The new court has 14,000 seats and when it rains, a combined 40,000 people will be able to watch tennis under the closed roofs of the Arthur Ashe and Armstrong stadium courts.

A total of 7,400 seats in the upper bowl will be general admission, with the other 6,600 seats in the lower bowl reserved for Louis Armstrong Stadium ticket holders.

The fabric for the roof is currently being installed and should be completed within the next month. For this to happen, the roof will need to be shut manually; the first test of the electronic opening and closing mechanism is likely to take place in early July.

The roof can be closed in under five minutes. Watch a video here. Other features of the new arena include:

  • Two entranceways, each featuring a grand staircase, escalator and elevator, giving ticket holders access to both the lower and upper concourses;
  • Storefronts featuring US Open Collection, Polo Ralph Lauren, Adidas and Wilson, anchoring the ground floor and accessible from outside the stadium;
  • Viewing areas on the lower concourse, giving patrons the ability to both enjoy the match inside, as well as take in the grounds;
  • A variety of food, beverage and merchandise concessions on both the lower and upper concourses.

USTA President Katrina Adams said:

Now with two stadiums with roofs, you know that if you’ve got a ticket to the US Open, you’re going to see tennis, regardless of the weather conditions.

It is on time, on budget and completed with no public funding. It’s a second stage that is second to none.

Here’s a look at some facts and figures behind the new stadium:

3: Number of video display boards: two inside behind each baseline and one on the outside.

13.5: Miles of the terra cotta louvers used on the sides of the stadium to help keep rain out while allowing air to circulate throughout the stadium. Placed end to end, the 14,250 louvers would stretch longer than the length of Manhattan.

25: Maximum travel speed of the roof in feet per minute.

50: The maximum wind speed in miles per hour that the roof can still be opened and closed. The average speed of a severe thunderstorm reaches about 31 mph.

124: Height in feet to the top of the retractable roof from court level. In Arthur Ashe Stadium, the roof is 205 feet above the court surface.

2,380: Aisle steps inside the bowl of Louis Armstrong Stadium. That’s more than to the top of One World Trade Center.

14,000: Seating capacity of Louis Armstrong Stadium.

38,160: The roof opening in square feet. The area is more than 18 singles tennis courts.

94,500: Total area in square feet of the roof. The total size of the roof is the surface area of seven Olympic-sized swimming pools.

284,000: Weight in pounds of each of the two retractable panels. Each panel travels on a 27-inch wheel along a steel track.

286,000: The total footprint of the new stadium in square feet.

@PanStadiaArena