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Indoor shooting range coming to Henrico

Facility expected to be largest in the U.S.
An indoor shooting range billed as the largest such facility in the nation is coming to Henrico County.

Colonial Shooting Academy is expected to open in February at 6020 West Broad Street near Willow Lawn, in the former Colony House Furniture building. The facility will be open seven days a week and house 39 shooting stations for use by members or the general public, as well as 11 stations for law enforcement training and a "shoot house," in which officers can practice various scenarios.

"It's real exciting for us, because there's a huge need," said general manager Ed Coleman, "and we feel like we're meeting that need."

In Central Virginia, there are three outdoor ranges and one indoor range. Coleman has been affiliated with one of the outdoor ranges – Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club in Hanover County – for nearly four decades and said the new facility will appeal to a range of customers.

"We've been all over the country looking at indoor ranges," he said. "Typically what we've found is professional people or tradesmen who are interested in shooting and need a place to shoot, or people who are interested in shooting competitions, which we'll have some of."

The facility earned plan of development approval from the Henrico Planning Commission late last month, clearing the way for demolition and renovation work to begin inside the structure. Investors in the shooting academy expect to spend $6 million or more outfitting the building during the coming months, Coleman said.

The building, owned by the real estate firm Spotts and Carneal, has been vacant since Colony House Furniture closed several years ago. Spotts and Carneal principal Courtland Spotts is the academy's managing partner and a primary investor. (Ed Lacy, another real estate official, is the other primary investor.)

The facility will offer memberships – beginning at $35 a month with a $100 initiation fee – but also will accept walk-in customers and offer gun rentals. One hour of shooting time will cost $20, Coleman said. Twenty-yard and 25-yard shooting ranges will be available, and the facility intends to offer some firearms for sale.

All customers and members will be required to take an on-site safety course prior to their first use of the facility and once every 12 months thereafter, Coleman said.

The academy is expected to employ 25 to 30 people, Coleman said. Among the facility's instructors will be recently retired Henrico Police Chief Henry Stanley.

The firearms industry as a whole has shown steady growth in recent years – including growth of more than 15 percent annually in the past few among first-time firearm owners, according to Coleman.

But many of those new owners lack formal training or the opportunity to access it nearby, he said. That's a void that the new facility will seek to fill locally, he said.

"There are very few facilities where you can go to learn," Coleman said. "Our primary purpose is to create a good, safe place for people to learn to shoot. We'll have a safe, secure environment where people can come and take classes and learn proper shooting techniques."

Coleman also expects that the academy's role with local law enforcement agencies will expand over time. Because of its vast amount of space, it will be able to offer local police departments training opportunities that many of them – even larger ones – may lack, he said.

Colonial Shooting Academy will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

More details about the facility will be available during the coming months on its website (http://www.colonialshooting.com) and by phone (804-266-AMMO).


Community

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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