JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) has chosen Jefferson City has the home for their new training facility. The SOMO board of directors met on January 17 to review the proposals from both Columbia and Jefferson city to provide the location for the Training for Life Campus (TLC) facility.
Major Capitol players sponsoring SOMO include the Missouri Optometric Association, Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA), and MADA.
The Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is an exclusive sponsor of the organization’s statewide volunteer program.
“The Missouri Automobile Dealers are proud to support Special Olympics Missouri. There are nearly 16,500 Special Olympians in the state, whose lives are enriched through their participation in these games,” MADA President and CEO Doug Smith said. “Special Olympics is an organization that engages young people and strengthens communities. The Training Life Campus being built in Jefferson City will provide athletes not only in mid-Missouri, but also around the state with more opportunities to come together for a common goal of unity and acceptance through sports training.”
The decision to choose the Jefferson City location was unanimous by the board of directors once it was made clear SOMO would have full ownership of the 15.5 acre property donated by Farmer Holding Company and Twehous Excavating.
“The decision to locate the TLC in Jefferson City was based in large part due to the Jefferson City proposal allowing the campus to truly be a place for our athletes to call their own. We’ve said from day one that was important to us now and 50 years in the future.” said SOMO Board Chairman Phil Cook.
A press release from SOMO assured the TLC would be “the first facility of its kind in the world built for the sole purpose of improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.”
Special Olympics Missouri is an program of athletic training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The program serves 16,500 athletes participating in 21 different sports all across the state.
Many state officials, including Chamber CEO Randy Allen and Mayor Eric J. Struemph, made clear to the board how beneficial capital city location would be to both the statewide collection of athletes and the community of Jefferson City.
“We are very pleased and excited Special Olympics Missouri has selected Jefferson City as its new location for the Training for Life Campus.” said Jefferson City Mayor Eric J. Struemph. “This project has truly been a great partnership between many entities all working together toward a great project that will have a big impact on our community.”
The plans for the campus included a 44,000 square-foot training center, expecting to host dozens of training camps and athletic opportunities every year. Construction is not set to begin until the entire $12.5 million fund is raised to support the project. Entities such as the Civic Progress sub-committee, made up of presidents from different banks in Jefferson City and an Ameren executive, are dedicated to helping SOMO reach their fundraising goal.
Kelsey Wingo is the multimedia reporter for The Missouri Times, and a senior at the University of Missouri. She will be graduating in Spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Readers can contact Kelsey by calling her cell phone at 417-343-0508 or via Twitter @kels_wingo.