Georgia Southern Breaks Ground for Shooting Sports Education Center
Georgia Southern University has started work to build a world-class, state-of-the-art $5.8 million Shooting Sports Education Center on campus. Ground was broken Thursday morning for the 30,000 square foot facility that will be open to students and the public. The facility will public indoor archery and firing ranges and an outdoor archery range.
The mission of the facility is to educate hunters and archers to be responsible shooting sports enthusiasts and promote safe firearms and bow handling. “This is the epitome of a public, private and government partnership,” said University President Brooks A. Keel, Ph.D. “It’s a relationship where we have all come together to make something unique happen. The Center will allow Georgia Southern to promote shooting safety, hunter safety and shooting education.”
The Shooting Sports Education Center is a partnership between Georgia Southern and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR secured a $3.5 million grant to go along with private donations made to the University and support from the Easton Foundation and the City of Statesboro. “We want to thank Georgia Southern for grabbing on to this concept that we came up with and recognizing the value added components of what a world class shooting facility would add for the students and people in the surrounding community,” said Mark Whitney, assistant director of the Wildlife Resources Division with the DNR.
“This is the beginning of an exciting adventure,” said Teresa Thompson, Ph.D., vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “Every once and a while, a project comes along that has exciting opportunities for the future. This shooting center can be a catalyst for developing students who will one day represent our nation as Olympic shooting sports champions.” The Center is expected to boost the local economy by bringing thousands of visitors to campus and Statesboro each year for training, tournaments and competitions. It will also be the home of the Georgia Southern women’s rifle team.
The Center will be the only facility of its kind east of the Mississippi River and will provide learning and recreational experiences for many students and introduce them to the world of shooting sports.“The comprehensiveness and versatility of this facility will allow for multiple disciplines of shooting sports to come together and serve as a hub for education, training, competition and recreation,” said Gene Sherry, executive director of Campus Recreation and Intramurals (CRI).
Over the next 12 to 18 months, Ajax Construction will build the facility at the corner of Old Register Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway. “Ajax is excited to have a part in building this significant facility, with its regional draw for NCAA competitions and national appeal as an educational showcase for the shooting sports,” said Ajax President Bill Byrne.
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.