- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Special Olympics Missouri is raising funds as it considers moving its headquarters and athletic training facility to a new site in Columbia.

If the project is successful, the group’s proposed Training for Life Center would be the first statewide athletic training campus for people with intellectual disabilities, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1jNimj7 ).

No final decision has been made, but Special Olympics Missouri is considering building at the Central Missouri Events Center at the Boone County fairground. The organization already owns an 11-acre property in Columbia, where state competitions are held every year.

The organization also would move its headquarters and 25 employees from Jefferson City, and add nine new positions, including five full-time jobs.

“We have had conversations” with county officials, said Lauri Shadoan, chief advancement officer for Special Olympics Missouri. “They would be interested in having that happen. We have yet to make any decision on that.”

She said Special Olympics Missouri will consider whether a move to the fairgrounds “makes sense to us as an organization.”

The capital campaign’s goal is $12.5 million for a 44,000-square-foot facility that would provide year-round training and health screenings for about 17,000 athletes, their coaches and volunteers. The Missouri Development Finance Board has approved $1.75 million in tax credits toward the project.

Shadoan said construction could start in 2017, after the three-year capital campaign ends.

“Those are all very, very preliminary discussions,” Shadoan said. “There are lots of questions, lots of answers we don’t have yet.”

Boone County Northern District Commissioner Janet Thompson said she hopes that several parties - possibly University of Missouri Extension, Special Olympics Missouri and others - could form a partnership for the new training center at the fairground.


Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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