CUTLERVILLE, Mich. — The best part about the new Special Olympics Michigan facility is the basketball court, said senior director of development Krista Paulin.
“A lot of people when they come into the space, we love to point out the Special Olympics logo in the center of our court,” Paulin said during an interview with FOX 17 on Monday morning. “We are the only place in the whole world that has just that Special Olympics logo right in the center of a court. That's really important because we are always renting other people's spaces.”
Soon, it’ll be all there’s, she said. Thursday, SOMI is going to announce their Building Tomorrow’s Champions campaign to raise money to remodel the old South Christian High School and transform it into the largest training facility for Special Olympic athletes in the world.
“The outdoor field space is going to be a world-class athletic complex with an eight-lane track, three flag football fields and entire bocci tournament area, an event plaza and five soccer fields,” Paulin said. “The inside of the building, on the 127,000 square feet we have in here for Special Olympics Michigan, we will be having these two gymnasiums.”
There’s also going to be a theater and office space for ten nonprofits that’ll be leasing space. She said those nonprofits will offer a variety of services from job training to life skills.
“People think that Special Olympics is just sports. They think we just do Winter Games and Summer Games. They don't realize all the different programs that we have,” Paulin said. “The biggest piece in here for us is being able to have a health wing. We already offer our athletes health screenings, but we want to be able to put a fully accessible health clinic in here too for follow-up care.”
Paulin said the remodeling project will cost $22,000,000. They’re hoping that the public will donate to the project to help give their athletes a place of their own.
“This is their home. This is where they're going to come first. We had a lot of athletes, coaches and families come into this building and when they saw it for the first time, those parents and coaches were in tears because they're used to, they said they would have been happy practicing in the hallway right outside,” she said. “So, to be able to see a gym that's their gym in their home, that is a game-changer for us.”