HARRISBURG — Southeastern Illinois College will unveil its new Indoor Archery Center during grand opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The center is part of the Chuck Hearn Outdoor Educational Complex.
The 12-lane facility will serve as home to the nationally acclaimed SIC archery program and provide recreational opportunities to archers and hunters in Southern Illinois.
“If somebody wants to walk in here tonight, they can shoot,” said SIC archery coach Alli Armstrong. “We will be here 6 to 8 p.m. We have two different options. If they want to come in they can pay hourly, whenever they want to come in. Or, if they want to set up, it’s called Outdoors 235, it’s a course we offer. They can pay the tuition and fees, then there is a certain quota they have to meet in terms of time to shoot and time put in to receive an A in that course.”
The only other indoor range in the area is Kevin’s Archery Center in Ava. Armstrong said the center is the only indoor archery range located on a college campus in the country.
The facility is set up for 18-meter and 20-yard shooting. Shooters must provide their own bows and arrows. Targets will be provided. Cost is $5 per half hour or $8 per hour. Children 13 and under pay half price, as do veterans and seniors.
“We’ve had several phone calls and emails and there are several people that want to host tournaments,” Armstrong said. “That’s another unique thing, people can host tournaments here. We’ve also had interest in doing fundraisers here. We will have leagues here as soon as we officially open and get the amount of interest from the public, what they’re wanting from us, we’ll be able to put things together.”
Although the primary benefit of the range will be to the school’s archery program, the needs of the community played a role in making the Indoor Archery Center a reality.
“We already have a very successful 3-D archery team here at SIC,” Armstrong said. “That’s been going on for six to seven years now. They did some research, there is extreme interest in archery and hunting here in Southern Illinois. Between the feasibility study and some research they were doing, they found it would be beneficial to SIC to build an indoor archery range.
“The range will expand the opportunities for the archery team. Now, we have an indoor team as well as a 3-D team, and it’s great for all the outdoor enthusiasts in the area, whether that’s archery, or hunting, or both.”
“Too often people want to be something they are not rather than just being proud of who they are,” said SIC president Jonah Rice. “SIC embraces our region and prides itself on serving all our constituents, such as sports enthusiasts in archery.”
The facility also allows SIC to expand its archery program.
“It means everything to me as a coach,” Armstrong said. “This indoor range has opened up so many new opportunities for our shooters. The 3-D, you’re limited on practice time. For one thing, it has to be daylight. It can’t be raining. The weather has to be nice. You’re constantly clearing out shooting lanes. This is kind of a whole new ballgame for us.”
The 3-D season is in the fall. The indoor season is in the spring. And, there are significant differences between the disciplines.
“You know your yardage and you’re shooting the rings in the target,” Armstrong said. “In 3-D shooting, you’re shooting the animal. It’s kind of based on the kill spot on the animal.”
Hours will be 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, call 618-252-5400, ext. 2248 or 2104.