The Fort Smith Juniors Volleyball Club (FSJ) recently broke ground on a new 22,000-square-foot indoor volleyball facility.
The facility will include 4 courts and will enable the club's teams to practice volleyball year round. The site is located at 5709 S. 73rd Place, directly across the road from Ben Geren Park. The facility is financed through a local private investment group and should be completed by October of this year.
“In the past we have used whatever is available to us at the time; be it school gyms, church gyms, or temporary vacant warehouse space,” said FSJ Club Director Greg Hale. “Having a place of our own is a true blessing for all of our players and parents and will allow us to have consistent practice schedules in a conducive environment throughout the volleyball season.”
FSJ also hopes to add boys volleyball teams, adult teams, sand volleyball courts, and sand volleyball club teams in the near future.
The Fort Smith Juniors Volleyball Club is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to giving female athletes, grades 3rd through 12th, the opportunity to learn, play, compete, and develop their skills at the game of volleyball.
The club is made up of more than 20 teams and includes more than 200 players from all over the Fort Smith region, including communities as far away as Mena, Russellville, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs and eastern Oklahoma. The club season begins in November and typically concludes in April.
Fort Smith Juniors was started in 1994 by University of Arkansas at Fort Smith coach Jane Sargent, who at the time was a coach at Chaffin Junior High in Fort Smith.
Sargent’s effort was initiated by Dr. Jim Newman who had moved to the area from out of state and his daughter was a volleyball player. There was no club in Fort Smith at the time so with Sargent's help, they formed Fort Smith Juniors and began with two 14-year-old teams.
The club had two teams that inaugural first season, and has grown considerably over the years reaching as many as 25 teams during a single season.
“With a building to call home FSJ wants to be the hub of the volleyball community and will continue to work with the local school districts, Girls Inc. and the UAFS volleyball program should they have a need to use the facility,” noted the FSJ statement.
FSJ officials also plan to use the facility for clinics and camps and hopes to facilitate more college scholarship opportunities for their players.