On-Target Recreation

SPRING15on-target-recreation

The new 30,000-square-foot Shooting Sports Education Center is on the rise, and so are plans for introducing archery and shooting sports to students and the public. The world-class, state-of-the-art facility is expected to open this fall.

“Archery and shooting sports are growing in popularity,” said Gene Sherry, executive director of Campus Recreation and Intramurals, which will operate the facility. “We’re offering students and the community a chance to experience these sports, maybe for the first time. They may discover a talent or interest that will turn into a lifelong hobby. Who knows? A young person may start down the path to the Olympics here.”

The Georgia Southern women’s rifle intercollegiate program, which began in 2013, will call the Center home. Tim Gauthier, a 24-year military veteran, certified in archery and shooting instruction, is the director of the new center. “Tim brings an ideal blend of skills to make this a world-class center for our students, the community and the region,” said Sherry. “In addition, Tim has extraordinary experience with the start-up and management of large-scale, complex military projects all over the world—from strategic and resource planning to program development to staff training and partnership building.”

Central to the mission of the facility is educating sports enthusiasts about safe firearms and bow handling. “All participants in shooting and archery—students and the general public—will become registered users, including a background check,” noted Sherry. Local law enforcement will also use the facility for qualifying and practice.

The Shooting Sports Education Center will be a hub for education, training, competition and recreation. It’s 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. The indoor facility will include a 16-lane archery center, 16-lane firing range, classrooms and administrative space. When funding is complete, phase two will develop a 20-acre outdoor archery park with a lighted Olympic archery range and a 20-station 3D field archery range. – Lynn Lilly

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