OPSU moving forward with proposed Collegiate Shooting Facility

Oklahoma Panhandle State University is making an investment with a sports recreation facility. The University’s administration is hoping the new Panhandle State Collegiate Shooting facility will help attract more students who are pursuing an education in wildlife related degree programs. The facility will be built on 203 acres of ranch land, owned by the University, in Texas County.

“By building this facility it gives OPSU the ability to attract 200 other students who would never look at our university,” said Dr. Tim Faltyn, President of OPSU. “These are new students who would never dream about coming to our region. Our current enrollment is 1,224 and were looking to increase the number of students attending OPSU.”

Plans are to have the new collegiate shooting facility in use by students, faculty and staff in 2018. Construction is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2018. Area high school students and the community will also be able to use the new facility. The University is planning to host events that will not be sanctioned by the NCAA instead the events will be sanctioned by other governing bodies.

“There will be competitions amongst other schools,” said Brent Shoulders, OPSU Professor of Art. “This will not be an NCAA or NAIA thing it will be sanctioned through the National Riflemen Association or the National Shooting Sports Foundation.”

The facility features a pistol range, a rifle range, an Olympic 3D archery range, multiple skeet ranges and a wildlife education center. Students who compete in shooting have their sights set on the facility opening next year.

“There aren’t too many places down here in the Oklahoma Panhandle region to shoot,” said Hannah Hammock, student at OPSU. “I had to stop shooting when I graduated from high school in Colorado. This will give me the opportunity to shoot again.”

“Really for where we live, it fits us perfectly and so were really excited about the idea,” said Faltyn. “We can offer this to our kids now and to generations coming up as well as the community to enjoy.”

Dr. Faltyn, tells ABC 7 News he estimates 60 percent of the usage of the facility will come from students at OPSU with the remaining 40 percent being high school students or people from the community or even surrounding states. The facility will also provide a place for law enforcement agencies to practice shooting at and for other training purposes.

“From an administrative standpoint it takes a lot of pressure off my office,” said Chief Andrew Ramirez, OPSU Police Chief & Goodwell Police Chief. “From a community standpoint we’re very excited to have this because it will allow for members of the community to learn responsible gun usage and gun safety issues.”

Private donations and grants are paying for the new Panhandle State Collegiate Shooting Facility. Construction is expected to take six months. Once open, it will also be a place where summer camps can take youths for a field trip.

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