June 24, 2016 – Fort Wayne, IN
The United States Association of Blind Athletes and Turnstone broke ground this morning on permanent housing for the U.S. Men’s Goalball Resident Program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The project will include two houses with six bedrooms each that will be used for six resident athletes and visiting athletes from around the world.
Established last October, the U.S. Men’s Goalball Resident Program allows six athletes and a resident coach to train full-time and live together – something Team USA counterparts like Lithuania and Brazil have had for some time. This is the first time a resident program has been established in the U.S. for the sport of goalball. Currently, the resident athletes reside in housing at IPFW and ride to Turnstone each day.
“Housing at Turnstone will allow athletes to focus more intently on training and will also allow us to host teams from across the U.S. and across the world at Turnstone’s top-rate facility,” said Mark Lucas, USABA executive director.
The project is fully funded by private donations, and is a collaborative venture supported by USABA, The Gibney Family Foundation, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Indiana State Lions Clubs and Turnstone.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at 10:00am across from the Plassman Athletic Center at Turnstone where the building will start next month. Mike Mushett, Turnstone CEO, opened the ceremony by giving an overview of the project. “Site preparations are scheduled to start in mid-July with occupancy around September 1.”
Mark Lucas thanked Michael Kinder and Sons, O’Neal Excavating, Adventure Homes, Premier Builders and Engineering Resource for their assistance on the project, as well as the Turnstone Board of Directors for their vision, commitment and support in making the Goalball Resident Housing Project a reality. He also thanked Ron Plassman for his support of the Plassman Athletic Center and being an integral part of establishing the U.S. Men’s Resident Program in Fort Wayne, and Past President of the International Association of Lions Clubs, Wayne Madden for supporting the project with grant funding.
Alicia McConnell and Katie Baker from the United States Olympic Committee were also in attendance as were members of the Indiana Lions Club and Past Director of the International Association of Lions Clubs, Dave Fiandt.
Three of the six current resident athletes will travel to Rio in September to represent Team USAat the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.