SOMO to decide location of "Training for Life Campus"
JEFFERSON CITY- Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) will soon choose between Jefferson City and Columbia for the location of its "Training for Life Campus."
After presenting their proposals to SOMO's Board of Directors in early November, the two cities will now wait until mid January for the final decision.
Both Jefferson City and Columbia feel that there are benefits to having the campus in their respective communities.
For instance, Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs said that the city will be building athletic fields that would complement the facility.
"Instead of them having to build soccer fields, we're building soccer fields," Griggs said. "Instead of them having to duplicate it, why don't they use ours?"
Whereas, Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Allen said that having the campus in the state capital, where SOMO is already headquartered, would be beneficial.
"We have a lot of support for the Special Olympics programs right now in Jefferson City," Allen said. "We have provided Special Olympics with a free, 15.5 acre site and all the utilities and infrastructure."
SOMO Capital Campaign Chair Gary Wilbers said that the Board is looking for a site that is roughly 12-15 acres.
Special Olympics Missouri plans on having over 30 camps each year at the complex.
At these camps, the athletes would spend a couple of days training at the facility, and stay at local hotels.
Wilbers said that since SOMO will be booking 1,200 to 1,500 room nights a year, the board began to look for alternative proposals after initial plans had the campus destined for an already purchased site in the southern tip of Columbia city limits.
The rough design for the 16,000 square foot training facility features all sorts of courts, fields and a health and fitness center for the athletes.
However, SOMO Capital Campaign Chair Gary Wilbers said that there is also other training that will be given to the athletes.
"We're also going to do more leadership training," Wilbers said. "When we go out and we speak, we want our athletes to be able to speak about what they get from the sport."
Wilbers said that as of November, Special Olympics Missouri had collected roughly $4.5 million by the middle of November in donations for the campus.
SOMO started its $12.5 million capital campaign in April of 2013, and gave itself a three year timeline to raise the necessary money.
If you would like to donate to the "Training for Life" campus, click this link.