Special Olympics Missouri raises $2.5 million for $10 million training facility

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | 6:05 p.m. CDT; updated 7:21 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 5, 2012

COLUMBIA — Construction is on hold for Special Olympics Missouri's planned training campus in Columbia. So far, the organization has raised $2.5 million of the $10 million needed, and construction is contingent on raising those funds.

The 44,000-square-foot multipurpose facility was projected to be built in 2013.

The organization received $1 million from the Centene Charitable Foundation last year, and the remaining $1.5 raised so far came from private entities, said Laurie Shadoan, vice president of development for the Special Olympics Missouri Endowment Fund.  

Linda Brokamp, chair of Special Olympics Missouri's Summer Games' Management Team and chairperson of the Capital Campaign for Families, said fundraising for the project started last fall. A public capital campaign will begin later this year, she said. 

The first phase of the Training for Life Campus is a $7.5 million education and training building expected to accommodate up to 250 athletes — the maximum size of a Special Olympics Missouri National Games team.  

The facility will be surrounded by outdoor courts and fields that will provide space to support the 21 games' sports, including soccer, softball, track and field, basketball and golf. This second phase will cost an estimated $2.5 million. 

The training campus is meant to serve individuals with intellectual disabilities, training athletes and coaches year round, according to the Special Olympics Missouri website. Ben Stuart, a spokesman for Special Olympics Missouri, said the facility will also be available for other organizations, companies, schools and service providers. 

The training campus is expected to be built on 11.2 acres near Highway 63 at 5491 Bonne Femme Church Road. Special Olympics Missouri purchased the land in 2008 from Tom Haire for $575,000, Shadoan said. 

Shadoan said a preliminary plan for the Training for Life Campus was designed with the help of Simon Oswald Architecture. Further design or contracting will not take place until all or the majority of the funding is available.  

The Special Olympics Missouri Board of Directors will determine when to start bidding on a contractor once it secures enough funding and decides on a construction time.

"The bottom line is we are still raising funds for the campus," Shadoan said. "We are looking for major donors right now, as we believe in the dream of having a facility that our athletes can call home." 

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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