By Marty Gordon
The River Valley Juniors (RVJ) Volleyball Club, a travel organization, Friday announced plans for a new volleyball training facility at the former New River Valley Mall, now Uptown Mall.
Nicole Kessner is the director for RVJ, which has more than 120 youngsters on the current roster. She called the need huge here in the region.
“Loads of AAU volleyball and basketball programs struggle to find practice spaces due to competing with school and rec sports,” Kessner said. “We struggle every year to find the right amount of gym space for our kids, and sometimes we have to pay a heavy price for it.”
The group has signed a lease on a 6,100-square-foot space behind Kirkland’s in part of the former JC Penney retail store location.
According to Kessner, the facility will include a full court and a half court. The renovated space will also have strength and conditioning equipment with plans for a storefront of its own in the near future. RVJ has a five-year goal to expand into other stores at the mall and continue to grow.
River Valley Juniors is dedicated to giving girls in the New River Valley and beyond with a passion for volleyball a chance to excel and play at the next level
A fundraising effort will help pay for the facility. Donors can contribute $1,000 for a banner to be placed in the gym.
RVJ welcomes athletes ages 10-18.
“Our hope is to add additional space and courts, so we can run tournaments in Christiansburg,” Kessner said. “This would be a great revenue source for the mall and the town of Christiansburg itself.”
RVJ hopes to open the new training site by the end of February or the first of March.
More information about RVJ and the new facility is available at www.rivervalleyjuniors.com.