The squeaks and creaks fill the air of youngsters running up and down and back and forth throughout The Gym at Venturacci Park.
The gym officially opened May 1 after years of dreaming, planning and securing funding for the 12,800-square foot, $1.3 million project.
Since the end of the school year, the gym has been packed with children and adults of all ages, according to city of Fallon Administrative Assistant Val Lightfoot. Once the gym opened, the city and Churchill County began open gym sessions at the center.
“It’s gone well,” Lightfoot said. “It goes and it flows.”
The hours were light, but the courts were full and kept Lightfoot and the staff busy. The gym has numerous configurations to allow residents to play basketball, volleyball and other sports. As the organization between the city and county becomes more fluid, youth sporting events and local events will be targeted.
As the days pass, though, the city and county staff have been able to use The Gym to alleviate the congestion of summer camps and programs.
Ryan Swirczek, the city’s public works superintendent, and Danny Gleich, the county’s recreation-athletics supervisor, said the new space has relieved the pressure.
“It has allowed us to expand our programming options,” Gleich said.
On Wednesday, the first of county’s two volleyball camps (the second begins July 30) was in full swing as Jennifer Buckmaster taught the fundamentals to about 30 children. Last year, the camp was forced to move to the Churchill County Middle School because of construction at the E.C. Best Elementary gymnasium.
The facility, however, was still a bit small plus the middle school was also under construction to refurbish “The Pit” and Churchill County School District offices.
Swirczek and Gleich closed the new facility for the volleyball camp, but The Gym reopens to the public today.
“The setup is 100 times better,” Swirczek said. “We have space and the parents can come and watch peaceably.”
The future of The Gym, though, is evolving. Swirczek and Gleich said no club or youth tournaments are scheduled this year because operational logistics must be organized first.
Once a consistent system is in place for open gym hours and local camps are established, the city and county will begin to reach out to numerous club and youth associations to bring those tournaments to Fallon. In addition, local clubs and events can also be scheduled through the city.
“Our goal is to have youth basketball and volleyball tournaments,” Swirczek added. “We can have two games for basketball and three for volleyball.”
While the out-of-town tournaments are down the road, Gleich said a number of youth and adult leagues are slated to compete at The Gym.
Adult volleyball leagues (16 and older) will run Aug. 13 through Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 through Dec. 17 from 6-10 p.m. on Tueday’s and Thursday’s. Also, a 3-on-3 adult basketball league is scheduled for February.