Myrtle Beach sets aside $300,000 to build sand volleyball court facility

Myrtle Beach is moving forward with plans to construct a $300,000 three-court sand volleyball area that could be used for NCAA women’s beach volleyball, though the details of the facility – including its location – still are being worked out.

Coastal Carolina University representatives have said they are looking at adding beach volleyball to its varsity offerings and Myrtle Beach City Council members believe the facility also could bolster the city’s sports tourism efforts. The facility could host traveling events, charity events, youth and adult tournaments and other recreational events.

The city is expected to have four sand volleyball tournaments this year, with one held on the beach at Ninth Avenue North last weekend during the Salt Games and the East End Volleyball Big Shot Volleyball Series being held at Ocean Dunes Resort and Villas in October.

“It’s been picking up,” assistant city manager John Pedersen said of sand volleyball tournaments being held in the city. “A few years ago we only had one.”

City Council included $300,000 in its $156.7 million budget for next fiscal year to construct the facility at Pebble Beach on vacant land just south of Damon’s Grill on South Ocean Boulevard. The figure is down from the proposed $355,300, which could have included nine courts. The fiscal year begins July 1.

The land is owned by Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. A spokeswoman for B&C said the company had no comment.

“The biggest obstacle right now is the site,”assistant city manager Ron Andrews said. “We need to draw up an agreement to use that land.”

Andrews said he wasn’t aware of another vacant piece of land in the city that would work for the sand volleyball courts, adding that no timetable for construction – or even site design – will be put in place until city staff knows it can use the land.

“Right now it’s on hold in terms of site planning,” he said.

Interim CCU athletic director Matt Hogue said the university is continuing to look at the possibility of adding beach volleyball.

“We have no specific timetable right now for adding the sport,” he said. “It’s on the table for discussion.”

There is a procedure that the university has to follow when adding a sport, including surveying the interest of students and putting together a proposal that would include a budget and implementation plan.

Hogue said that if the school chooses to add beach volleyball to the sports offered at Coastal, implementation could move quickly.

“It’s not the typical sport addition – we’d use the same coaches and the same student athletes would participate,” he said, referring to the school’s varsity women’s indoor volleyball team.

The facility would feature three courts as well as shower facilities and a storage area for equipment, Andrews said. He said they might initially use port-a-johns, before constructing permanent restroom facilities when more funds are available.

He also said it was possible that the city could construct three courts at first, and then add courts in the future. When CCU representatives and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce initially proposed the idea to City Council in March, they asked the city to build nine courts.