Volleyball complex seen as boon for Buda, local athletes

Through hard work, and a little help from Buda’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Beltz’ goal will come to fruition with the opening of a 30,000 square-foot multi-use indoor sports facility, complete with a retail center.

Providing opportunities for young people to participate in athletics, especially volleyball, is essential, Beltz said. But he also hopes the facility can open volleyball to the community.

Beltz said plans for a volleyball facility started in 2014; at the time Beltz approached Ann Miller, Buda EDC executive director, with his idea.

Over the next few years, Beltz explored and researched the idea of a facility. After looking at possible locations in Austin and Hays County, he eventually settled on a “spot that will work” in the Sunfield subdivision.

That spot will house an indoor facility with a primary focus on volleyball. Beltz envisions the facility as a way for young athletes to introduce themselves to the sport. The venue will also serve as the home base for the Texas Shock club volleyball team, which currently uses Hays CISD gyms for pratices.

While Beltz said volleyball is growing in participation and popularity, there are people who don’t know much about the sport. Beltz said Hays County has a “lot of opportunity” for volleyball growth, as older siblings or their parents drive many young athletes to join.

“People don’t know club and competitive volleyball even exists, especially on the scale that it is,” Beltz said.

Stephanie Coates, Hays High volleyball head coach, said she was excited to hear of the facility, as it could open doors for kids to get involved in sports. 

Having a facility in the area could give kids and parents an avenue to discover if volleyball, basketball or some other sport is their passion, and if they want to pursue it.

“Even though volleyball is not a new or emerging sport, facilities are not readily available for kids,” Coates said. “There are people that want to put the effort in the sport in our areas, but the lack of facilities is hard.”

Coates added many students who participate in club volleyball often must travel into Austin, Cedar Park, Westlake, or even as far south as San Antonio to play.

As a result, it becomes “hard and frustrating” for club directors to find a suitable place to practice and play, Coates said.

Karen Young, who was brought on in May to helm Lehman High’s volleyball team, said having an area volleyball facility could create a sense of community for local athletes. Along with easing travel strain for parents, it could allow coaches to expose younger children to sport.

“The earlier they start playing, the better,” Young said. “Having a fundamental base is important, so the sooner they start, the better. The complex is a great start for them.”

The economic benefit of the complex is something on Buda city officials’ minds as well.

Miller said the complex could give Buda a boost in improving its hotel occupancy figures. According to figures presented in May, Buda’s rate of occupancy in its hotels dropped 17 percent from March 2017 to March 2018, according to statistics compiled by STR, Inc. The city’s average daily rate also dropped by roughly $13 during the same time frame.

Miller said the potential of the complex hosting volleyball tournaments that could bring an estimated 1,500 people to town is exciting. That, in turn, could lead to visitors infusing dollars back into the economy.

“Buda is trying to increase our HOT rate and sports is a good way to do that,” Miller said.

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