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World Gym Setauket to Build Tennis Bubble

As its tennis programs increase in popularity, World Gym Setauket has received town planning board approval to build an enclosure over its four outdoor tennis courts.

General manager Tom Jaklitsch said in an interview Tuesday that the gym could start construction of its "tennis bubble" in November. Concrete footings would first be erected, followed by the inflatable bubble that would top out at 39 feet high, 120 feet wide and 104 feet long over its four outdoor courts.

"We noticed that our lesson programs were increasing each year and we found that tennis is a growing sport again, where it was not growing in the past," Jaklitsch said. "We can see the future of these younger players – they’re going to need courts. For us, that will be a strength of our business at that point."

The town planning board initially approved a metal structure for over those four courts, but Jaklitsch said the cost was double that of the bubble structure, and so the management went back to the town seeking approval for a different structure. A town spokesman said Tuesday that the approval had been granted.

Jaklitsch said the capability for strong tennis programs is part of the gym's strategy to stay in business amid increasing competition from other fitness centers – namely, he said, LA Fitness, which is building a new gym in Port Jefferson Station on top of its previous locations in Lake Grove, Centereach and Smithtown.

"We noticed with all the competition around we had to try to find another way to increase our business instead of relying on the fitness," Jaklitsch said. "We’re very well-diversified and we have more than just fitness. We have tennis, we have roller hockey, swimming, camps."

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