Special Olympics Missouri project is nearing its goal

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JEFFERSON CITY – Slowly but surely, a one-of-a-kind Special Olympics facility is taking shape in Jefferson City.

Commuters making their way down U.S. Route 54 near Missouri Highway 179 can now see exterior walls of the Special Olympic Missouri Training for Life Campus. The Training for Life Campus is dedicated to more than 15,000 athletes that fall under Special Olympics Missouri. Public Relations Coordinator Harrison McLean says the idea has been a dream for quite some time.

“It’s really been kind of an idea we’ve had for about 12 years,” McLean said. “It is a really unique opportunity for special Olympics Missouri and Special Olympics as a whole.”

The 34,000-foot facility, the largest of its kind in the country, will feature varying sports courts and fields, a “Sports Leadership Training Center Hall of Heroes,” a Health and Fitness Center and will also serve as the new office location for Special Olympics Missouri, according to the Special Olympics website. Regardless of the commodities, McLean noted that it is all for the athletes.

“It is kind of a place for them to call home,” McLean said. “Hopefully it can serve as kind of a beacon for Special Olympics as a whole to follow.”

Though ground has been broken, the facility still hasn’t completed its fundraising efforts. McLean said the fundraising process is still underway for what he called the “Back Nine,” an area behind the facility that will feature trails and fields.

“We are at 94 percent of our fundraising goal so we still have that last six percent to go,” McLean said. “We actually just partnered with the Centene Charitable Foundation and they’ve said that they are going match to any donations from now to Dec. 15 up to $700,000.”

Special Olympics Missouri hopes the project will be completed by fall or winter of 2018.