venus and-serena-williams*Tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams will be among those ushering in a new era for the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center (SETLC) as they celebrate the facility’s $18 million renovation with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and gala on Friday (Nov. 7).

The event, titled “Tennis Shoes, Ties and After 5,” will kick off at 5:30 p.m. at the center, located at 701 Mississippi Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. In addition to the ribbon-cutting, the Williams sisters will be on hand for the unveiling of the 48,000 sq. ft. Williams Arena.

“Tennis Shoes, Ties and After 5” caps off a united effort from local leaders that has benefited the community. D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray appropriated the money for the SETLC’s renovation in 2013. Founded in 2001 by Recreation Wish List Committee (RWLC) founder and CEO Cora Masters Barry, the SETLC is a $5.1 million dollar, state-of-the art, tennis and learning center that has serviced over 10,000 underserved children in the Washington, D.C. area.

Barry and Gray will be among the attendees for the re-opening of the SETLC, official ribbon cutting and gala as well as DC Operations director Linda Nunnelly, incoming USTA chairman of the board and president Katrina Adams, Department of General Services (DGS) director Brian Hanlon, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) interim director Dr. Sharia Shanklin, RWLC board of directors chairman Michael C. Rogers, chairman-and SETLC site manager Damiisa Robinson.

The event comes after a “Topping Off” ceremony for the SETLC, which was held in September.

“I believe we have created a Center which will continue to nurture, train, teach and develop our children to become leaders in our community and society,” Barry said during the “Topping Off” as she anticipated big things in store for the community. “While we have serviced over 10,000 local children and youth, the current renovation will allow us to service many, many more. I thank Mayor Gray, and the D.C. City Council for their vision and support for our children…who are our future.”