COLUMBIA — Special Olympics Missouri plans to build a state-of-the-art training center in Columbia.
To raise money for the new training center, which will cost about $7.5 million, the organization will launch a fundraising campaign in an effort to raise about $1.5 million locally.
"The board and the staff have researched, and we believe it's a reasonable price tag for that facility," said Randy Boehm, a member of the Special Olympics Missouri Board. "There would be a facility the athletes will be very proud of."
Special Olympics Missouri is the state's largest organization to serve the needs of children and adults with mental disabilities. The organization hopes its new facility, to be named the Training for Life Campus, will provide health, fitness, social and emotional benefits.
There will be a multipurpose facility in the center, which will include a sports and recreation arena, a sports education multimedia center and outdoor multipurpose courts and playing fields, among other facilities, according to a news release from Special Olympics Missouri.
The new Training for Life Campus will combine training under one roof.
"We either rented or borrowed locations before," Boehm said. "It's important for athletes to have a place to themselves to train and compete."
The training center will be built south of Columbia and will be 48,000 square feet.
"We were looking for a location that would be in the center of the state and easily accessible to our 15,000 athletes to come to the training facility," said Laurie Shadoan, Special Olympics Missouri Endowment Fund vice president of development. "With the Columbia location we will have 80 percent of athletes from around the state able to be within a two-hour drive."
But athletes shouldn't expect the training center to be completed anytime soon. A start date for construction on the training center will be determined based upon the amount of money Special Olympics Missouri is able to raise and how quickly the organization can raise the money, Shadoan said.
"Building of the Training for Life Campus will not begin until we have at least 60 percent of the money raised, and more likely the total amount raised, before building begins," Shadoan said. "This is a long-term process that we are just beginning with the building projected to be three to five years away."