Georgia Southern’s Shooting Sports Education Center Opens
The Shooting Sports Education Center (SSEC) at Georgia Southern University, a state-of-the-art instructional facility dedicated to the shooting sports, is open to students and the public. The facility includes training rooms, an archery center and a firearms range. The SSEC is located at the edge of the University’s campus on the corner of Old Register Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway, 3271 Old Register Road. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 10:30 a.m.
The SSEC is the only facility of its kind on a college campus dedicated to providing exceptional education in archery and firearms, and to developing the knowledge and skills necessary to enjoy lifelong participation in shooting sports. With a public indoor archery center and a firing range, it will provide new experiences for many students and community members by serving as a comprehensive center for education, training, competition and recreation. The facility also provides a much-needed indoor space for the University’s championship-winning archery club team and the University’s women’s varsity NCAA rifle team to practice and host competitions with seating for visitors.
“The educational experiences in the shooting sports we will be able to provide for our students, community and region through this facility may be the only time an individual will have the opportunity for such an experience,” said Gene Sherry, executive director of Georgia Southern’s Campus Recreation and Intramurals (CRI). “In addition, this resource will allow many individuals to participate and hone their skills in the very popular American pastime of recreational target shooting.”
Courses in archery and firearms are taught at the SSEC by trained and certified SSEC personnel. Current education programs include safe shooter training for firearms and archery, introductory classes for archery and firearms, USA Archery level 1 and level 2 instructor certification, U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) concealed carry course and National Rifle Association (NRA) basic pistol class. Introductory class materials and length are tailored to youth, collegiate or adult audiences and course fees begin at $15. A student discount rate is provided.
Construction of the 30,000-square-foot facility began in December 2014. The building features two spacious training and seminar rooms, an archery center and firing range. Behind a glass wall, the 16-lane, 25-meter archery center accommodates 64 archers with additional spectator seating. The 16-lane, 25-meter firearms range, divided into two bays of eight lanes each, provides for state-of-the-art firearms training. Each of the 16 lanes include an automated target retrieval system and eight lanes are equipped with turning targets, ideal for law enforcement training. In addition, it is equipped with a cutting-edge target system designed specifically for precision or Olympic-style shooting identical to the system used in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The leading edge ventilation system, designed specifically for indoor firing ranges, ensures the air turnover rate virtually eliminates exposure to airborne lead.
The SSEC is the newest high quality recreational outlet at Georgia Southern,which is already home to the 215,000-square-foot award-winning Bruce and Kathryn Grube Recreation Activity Center (RAC). The RAC is positioned on the 70-acre M.C. Anderson Park, a corner of campus that boasts 20 acres of outdoor lighted recreation fields, outdoor basketball courts, one mile of walking/running paths, and an 8,000-square-foot covered pavilion.
The SSEC is a partnership between Georgia Southern and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Georgia Southern’s prime location in southeast Georgia is favorable for representing and providing education on the shooting sports. The University’s infrastructure and ability to provide exemplary education and training assures that the facility and its programs are administered with the highest standards.
“This state-of-the-art shooting facility, providing both public and collegiate access to this growing recreational and athletics interest, was made possible through our partnership with Georgia Southern University,” said Dan Forster, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Division director. “It is through range partnerships like this that we can serve our customers and increase opportunities to experience shooting in Georgia.”
The project was funded by private donations to the University, support from the Easton Sports Development Foundation, the City of Statesboro, the Archery Trade Association and a $3.3 million grant, secured by the DNR, ensuring that the University can offer this opportunity to students without increasing student fees.
“We are very excited to open this facility that has such great educational and economic development opportunities for our students and community, said Teresa Thompson, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We are grateful for the support our partners have provided to us and look forward to showcasing this world-class facility to the nation.”
Prior to using the SSEC, all students and members of the public must first become an approved user of the facility unless registering for an introductory course. The approved user authorization process is contingent on successful completion of the in-person application for authorization; a background investigation; viewing of the Range Safety orientation video; a written exam on the SSEC’s range safety and procedures for firearms, archery or both; and a hands-on practical exam under the supervision of an SSEC official for firearms, archery or both.
Individuals wishing to use the SSEC but who are unable to successfully pass the written or practical exams (or both) will be required to take the safe shooter training class in firearms or archery during which they will learn the required skills and knowledge to become an approved user. Upon successful completion of the course and background check, they will be authorized to use the SSEC.
The SSEC enforces age restrictions for both the archery center and firing range. The archery center requires individuals to be seven years or older and accompanied by an adult if under the age of 14. The firearms range is available for individuals 10 years or older and individuals ages 10 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult who is an “approved user” or an “approved user – firearms.” In addition, youth must have written permission from a parent or guardian to use a firearm.
Storage space of personal firearms and archery equipment is available for rent at the center and is accessible by SSEC personnel only. Patrons are encouraged to utilize the firearms and archery equipment available for rent through the center. All firearm rentals must use ammunition purchased from the center.
All current weapons laws related to firearms on campus remain and apply to approved users of the facility. It is unlawful for anyone to bring a firearm or a bow into the facility without prior authorization or arrangement. Individuals attending the facility to seek authorization as a user of the facility should not bring their firearm or bow.
For more information and hours of operation, visit recreation.georgiasouthern.edu/ssec.
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 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 and hands-on approach to education. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.