GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) — Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI) debuted a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign called Building Tomorrow’s Champions, where South Christian High School will be turned into the world’s largest Special Olympics facility.

SOMI provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to both children and adults with intellectual disabilities, serving more than 23,000 athletes; using the help of over 32,000 volunteers.

Since 2020, the Building Tomorrow’s Champions campaign has raised over $6.7 million to renovate the former high school. To date, over 100 local businesses, community donors, and area foundations have supported the renovation.

The primary agencies that will be leasing the space include:

  • Autism Support of Kent County
  • Brody’s Be Café
  • Disability Advocates of Kent County
  • Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan
  • Far Out Volleyball Club
  • Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan/be nice
  • MOKA
  • Thresholds

From the beginning, our team set out with a plan to create a model of collaboration and an inclusive environment to support persons with disabilities.  By sharing the same facility, our partners can learn from each other, complement programs and services, and provide greater opportunities as we help to empower and build tomorrow’s champions.”

Tom Hileman, CEO of Special Olympics Michigan

The renovation will create new sports fields, expanded space for programming, administrative offices as well as educational and wellness spaces. The Special Olympics Unified Sports and Inclusion Center will host regional, statewide, national, and international competitions that are expected to generate millions in terms of economic development for West Michigan.