Nonprofit buys ex-high school
Special Olympics Michigan has purchased a former high school building in the area to create the organization’s largest facility worldwide.
Special Olympics Michigan purchased the former South Christian High School campus in Byron Township, at 160 68th St. SW, to establish the Special Olympics Michigan Unified Sports & Inclusion Center, according to the organization today.
The property was purchased for $3.5 million, according to Kent County property records.
The new center will serve as a training facility for the organization’s four regions and 36 areas throughout the state.
Particular emphasis will be placed on unified sports and health and wellness programs, including nutrition and preventative care. The development of these programs will then be modeled and shared more broadly throughout the state.
The 127,000-square-foot building, which includes two gyms and a 735-seat auditorium, was built in 1953 and renovated in 1991. It’s situated on 17 acres that includes three sports fields.
The campus will provide space for year-round programming, including league play, health and wellness services, youth athlete programming, training, development and more.
Special Olympics Michigan does not own any other buildings or sports facilities. Funds have been budgeted annually for competition and practice space and time, according to Krista Paulin, senior director of development, Special Olympics Michigan.
Initial design concepts and partners are being considered for potential renovations to the facility.
Staff from the Mt. Pleasant-based organization’s southwest region office, at 1239 76th St. SW in Byron Center, have already moved into the facility, Paulin said.
The regional office has seven full-time staff.