Missouri Special Olympics training facility opening

The outside of the Special Olympics Training Facility in Jefferson CIty (Lexie Petrovic/KRCG13).

Missouri Special Olympics dedicated its brand new, eighteen-million dollar training facility on Thursday afternoon. It is the largest facility of its kind in the world.

The thirty-four-thousand square foot building provides a home and training center to over fifteen-thousand Missouri Special Olympics athletes. The building was completed in September, but officially welcomed in the community today.

Athletes said they did not have a consistent place to train and play sports for over forty years until now. It includes an athlete pavilion, softball field, tennis courts, golf skills, and even horse shoe, to name a few of the activities.

Athlete George Richardson said he is excited to have a place to practice closer to his hometown.

"It's a lot easier, it's close to home," he said. "And I have a good time."

Richardson also said he has been able to participate in a variety of activities.

"I like to play basketball, bowling, tennis, swimming," he added. "All of the sports."

He said he is looking forward to trying new sports once the weather gets warmer.

"I'm looking forward to having my first run in track and field."

Multi-media manager Brandon Schatiek said this facility is unique because it provides health and medical services to the athletes.

"We wanted something where our athletes could come and get a variety of different health screenings because realistically, people with an intellectual disability are often the forgotten ones," he said. "Not just in school, not just in their community, but also in health as well."

Schatiek said Missouri Special Olympics is selective in who they choose to be on their medical staff.

"Our physicians have to go through a rigorous training process through Special Olympics," he added. "We have a great partnership with different universities. For example, we have a partnership with Missouri State that helps us with our hearing tests. It's about creating those partnerships and finding clinicians who are willing to get trained by Special Olympics International."

Missouri Special Olympics creates a place for athletes, coaches, and volunteers to train, compete, and learn the lessons of sports and life. If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation, you are encouraged to check out their website.

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