The Dunes Volleyball Club, an organization with a rich history of promoting sports and fitness going back nearly 30 years, recently celebrated the opening of a new, state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot facility in LaPorte.
The Dunes Operation Center, located at 110 Clear Lake Blvd behind the Pine Lake Shopping Center in LaPorte, features eight indoor tournament volleyball courts with ten practice courts. The facility opened last week, with some construction still underway to put the finishing touches on the new location. When that construction is done, the center will also feature a pro shop, concession stand, basketball courts, and batting cages, as well as outdoor beach volleyball courts. The second phase of construction is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
The Dunes Volleyball Club was founded by Rick Ashmore in 1989. From November to the beginning of June, the club offers volleyball clinics, camps, and one-on-one practice for youths from grade school age through high school, and offers a full range of activities, from league play to strength and agility training, and more. Hundreds of games have been played there over the last 30 years of its existence.
“We have helped these players stay sharp, stay in practice during the off-season, as well as hosting games during our tournament season,” Ashmore said. “Each year, we see several kids get recruited to colleges. Last year, we saw fifteen kids from here go to college on full-ride scholarships.”
Originally located in Rolling Prairie, the club has now moved into their new location at the Dunes Operations Center in LaPorte.
“Moving here to LaPorte makes it more convenient for people to take advantage of what we offer. We’re closer to hotels, closer to restaurants, and closer to the expressway, making it easier for people to get here,” Ashmore said.
On any given day, the club hosts over 30 high schools participating in volleyball games at the center, with teams coming to play at the DOC from all across the country- even from other countries. Ashmore expects that the new facility will have a significant impact on boosting the local economy in the LaPorte area.
“This Friday, we’ll have three teams from China who will be coming to play here,”
“Local businesses are already seeing an increase in people coming here. When we’re in our club season, we’ll see people coming in from Michigan, Ohio, all over,” Ashmore said. “This Friday, we’ll even have three teams from China who will be coming to play here.”
Ashmore says that the project couldn’t have been completed without the help and support of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corporation and the City of La Porte
“The GLEDC was tremendous,” Ashmore said. “Their guidance was instrumental in so many phases of this project, from finding the site to helping us find and secure grants to fund the project and more. They were a huge aid in making this possible.”
"As Mayor of La Porte I am excited to see Dunes Event Center open it's doors,” said Mayor of La Porte, Mark Krentz. “The City was a partner in this project from the beginning and all of our Departments put a lot of effort into making this project work in Newporte Landing. We've already seen a major increase in traffic headed to the facility and look forward to many new people experiencing all that La Porte has to offer while visiting the Dunes Event Center."
Kylie Smith, 14, and Betty Barnett, 15, from Warsaw, love the new building and especially enjoy playing with the Dunes Athletic Club.
“Our club always works as a team. It’s just like one big family. Everyone accepts you,” said Smith.
“The coaches are great,” Barnett said. “I’ve learned so much here and they’ve helped me to do better in tournaments.”
“I just really enjoy working with these kids,” Ashmore said. “That’s the whole reason why I do this.”
For more information about the Dunes Operation Center, The Dunes Athletic Club, or to see about enrolling your child in the club, visit them online at www.dunes.org.
La Porte, IN 46350
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