The construction of a new shooting center on MSU’s campus will bring students looking to compete at archery or marksmanship to MSU, said Chris Glass, former president of the MSU Archery Team.
The 23,000-square foot center, which broke ground Friday, is expected to be complete by next June and will function as a practice facility for MSU’s Archery Team, Marksmanship Club and Air Rifle Club Team.
“There’s been a need for it for years,” Glass said.
“Currently we’re shooting in a basement in IM (Sports-) West … Having a place that we can call our own and come to practice, people will start taking (the club) a little more seriously.”
The John and Marnie Demmer Shooting Sports, Education and Training Center will be on Jolly Road between Hagadorn and College roads.
The center will cost $3.5 million, and will be paid entirely by private donations.
The second largest indoor shooting facility in the Midwest, its features include two indoor ranges and three outdoor archery ranges, according to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The center will accommodate classes for MSU’s criminal justice, fisheries and wildlife, kinesiology and ROTC programs, said Bill Taylor, chairman of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.
The center also will hold 4-H programs and hunting, gun safety and law enforcement training.
Gary Williams, educator for Wayne County’s MSU Extension, recruits students to the programs.
“From the 83 counties that we have in the state of Michigan, you’re going to see more shooters come around and participate because now we have a facility,” Williams said.
“We’re going to be recruiting from students who are familiar with archery and (rifle) and then you’re going to get those that have this new interest.”
Norman Graham, head coach of the Archery Team, said he was uncertain how many more students than usual would join the teams, but has received more calls this year from high school students interested in competing.
“A lot of students interested in archery and marksmanship are also interested in wildlife management,” he said. “That’s the strength of Michigan State.”
The shooting teams have around 25 to 30 students this year, Taylor said.
Archery and rifle marksmanship are not NCAA-sanctioned varsity sports.
The creation of more scholarships also could give students an incentive to shoot for the university, said Jeffrey Armstrong, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“We’ve already received a $50,000 endowment for a mixed rifle scholarship,” he said. “That would have never happened without the facility.”
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