Special Olympics Missouri athletes, donors, board members, and staff attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Training for Life Campus in Jefferson City. The ceremony kicked off SOMO’s 50 Days of Celebration for 50 years of Special Olympics. The new campus is designed to help train and educate athletes with intellectual disabilities through sport, health and wellness and leadership.
The Training for Life Campus is the biggest of its kind not only in the United States but the world.
“We’ll be able to train thousands of athletes,” said Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. “It’s the best in the world, so Missouri being a world-class leader with an organization like Special Olympics, that’s a ‘Win-win’ and it’s something we’re all proud of.”
SOMO’s campus will help train athletes in up to 18 different sports from track and field, basketball, bowling and more. The facility boasts a gym with a full-size basketball and volleyball court as well as two smaller courts that can be broken down into four, half-court basketball floors. There is a four-lane outdoor track with FieldTurf for soccer and track and field events. At the northeast end of the SOMO campus, expansion plans are in the works for the addition of tennis and bocce courts, shot put, horseshoe pits, a golf skills area, and softball field.
Comments from Lt. Gov. Kehoe
Ribbon cutting for new SOMO training facility in Jeff City https://t.co/mjbF24Dx7M
— Bill Pollock (@missourisports) September 13, 2018
“From a community aspect, it’s probably one of the proudest days I’ve had since I’ve been here (Jefferson City) for almost 30 years,” said Kehoe. “This is just an incredible day for the community and for the state.”
In addition to the multi-sport activities, the campus will also provide seven healthcare screening disciplines for vision, hearing, dentistry, podiatry, physical therapy, sports physical exams and general health and well being. Special Olympics teams up with healthcare professionals to offer free screenings.
“We had some key board members who said (12-14 years ago), if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right,” said SOMO CEO Mark Musso.
There are a few other programs in other states that may have a track or arena, but not an “all-in-one” facility on this level. Musso, who has been with Special Olympics Missouri since 1972, said their vision for the Training for Life Campus came about from those visits.
“We just asked the simple question, why can’t we do that here in Missouri? When you look at what they’ve (the athletes) gone through, what they do in their lives and how they’re always positive, how could we not do that for them?”
Comments from Musso
The 32,000 square foot project broke ground in May 2017. A public dedication ceremony will take place Nov. 1.