Vernon’s Sky Volleyball Club is looking for an assist from the City of Vernon to set up a new facility.
Calling its project ‘Skydome,’ the club is proposing to build a standalone 66,000-square-foot air supported structure (dome), including room for eight courts, bleachers, physical training space, activity-based child care space, technology, a 6,000-square-foot accessory building including lobby, pro shop, change rooms and restrooms, a 21,000-square-foot beach volleyball court area featuring four courts and an outdoor gathering area.
All of this, said Sky club president Jeremy Wilson, could be accommodated on one soccer pitch.
“We are not looking for a complete handout,” said Wilson, joined in presenting to Vernon council Monday, March 14, by past club president Troy Lorenson and High Performance club coaches Dawna Sales and Lori Moger.
“We are prepared to put the time and effort in, understanding that a project of this size requires a ton of work.”
The club, said Wilson, will establish a project management team, develop and execute fundraising campaigns, and secure grants. He estimates the cost of building such a facility would be around $4 million.
What the club would like from the city is a partnership agreement and some land. Preferably at the proposed Kin Race Track Athletic Park.
“Initial thoughts would be land allocated as part of the Kin Race Track redevelopment plan,” he said. “It’s a natural fit to have the facility included and will add a ton of value to the area.”
Volleyball, said Sales, who works with Volleyball Canada, continues to grow in popularity all over the world.
“The number of participants was estimated at over 935 million people in 2020 making it the fifth most participated sport globally,” she said.
The Vernon Volleyball Club was formed in 1975 by longtime Vernon school coach Denis Murdoch, inducted along with his wife, Barb, into the Volleyball B.C. Hall of Fame in 2021. The club was rebranded to Sky Volleyball Club in 2017.
It has become the second largest volleyball club in all of B.C. out of 55 clubs. They have youth programming, spring and summer camps and an outdoor beach area.
They opened a Sky Gateway Training Facility off Silver Star Road in 2021 which gave the club a home and showed they could operate their own facility.
“Membership has more than 450 athletes, and 80 per cent are female, helping to advance gender equity in Canadian sport,” said Lorenson. “We have 55 coaches, 13 board members and hundreds of parents.”
Lorenson started the Beyond Sport Volleyball Academy in the fall of 2021, accommodating 48 high school students out of more than 100 applicants.
A year round volleyball facility like no other in the Okanagan would bring the opportunity to host a variety of events including indoor club tournament, beach tourneys, high school events and high-performance training camps.
Letters of support for the facility have been issued by Volleyball Canada, Volleyball B.C. and the Sports and Culture Society of the North Okanagan.
Council is expected to discuss the proposal at its next regular meeting Monday, March 28.