Special Olympics training center plans revived

2013-02-23T20:33:00Z 2013-02-23T21:42:03Z Special Olympics training center plans revivedSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com
February 23, 2013 8:33 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A plan to replace a Special Olympics training center destroyed by a 2011 blizzard is back on the front burner after being delayed over the winter.

Revised plans to comply with state fire codes are being readied for review by the state fire marshal, said Margot Sabato, executive director of South Lake Community Services, which is county coordinator for the Special Olympics Lake County program.

Earlier hopes of opening the center late last year were delayed by the need to revise plans to comply with recent changes to fire codes, Sabato said.

"Now we're ready to kick it back into high gear," Sabato said.

No target date to resume construction has been set, Sabato said.

"Hopefully it will be in the next few months," Sabato said.

A February blizzard just more than two years ago flattened the roof of a building that had been intended for a Special Olympics training center but hadn't yet been put to use.

The building was empty when 20 inches of snow collapsed the roof, and nobody was hurt.

Work had been completed by late summer last year on the shell of a replacement structure at the same site, in a commercial-retail complex at U.S. 231 and 113th Avenue. 

Interior construction remains to be done. The replacement building is to feature enhancements to the previous site, including a raised roof with room for a full-size basketball court and other amenities.

Plans are to stock the gym with as many as 20 donated fitness machines and to install lockers, shower rooms, a snack bar and meeting rooms.

Tri-Creek School Corp. donated a wooden basketball floor and hanging baskets to the center.

More than 400 special Olympians are registered with the Lake County program, part of a worldwide program aimed at providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

However, a wider population of people with disabilities beyond Special Olympians is expected to be accommodated by the replacement facility, including those who encounter physical difficulties using a regular health club.

A contract to manage the facility had been finalized last year with the fitness center chain Fuel Fitness.

Insurance is covering the cost of replacing the building's exterior and contributions were being raised for improvements.

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