JOPLIN, Mo. — Ask any coach or athlete if they’d much rather play a game at home, and you’ll get a resounding “yes.” But when a team’s home game is technically on the road, gone normally is home-field advantage. That’s been the case for a Joplin school — but not anymore.
“The College Heights community is beyond excited to have this facility, I think it’s been something that’s been needed for many years,” said Dan Decker, College Heights Christian School Superintendent.
Athletes with College Heights have to go to one place to play soccer, another for eight-man football, and still another for tennis, volleyball, baseball, and basketball. But that is changing. Thanks to a $2.9-million lease-purchase agreement, the school system will be using the former Elevate the Game facility as their new home, which will be called the College Heights Athletic Complex.
“Our baseball team goes to Joplin Athletic Complex, they go to Turner Field, you know, they go to a lot of different places. Tennis goes to Millennium, we just, our people are scattered everywhere so our kids don’t really have a home, and this is gonna give us a place where it’s College Heights,” Decker added.
The school has its own gym but it only holds just under 200 fans, so the school has been renting the gym on the Ozark Christian College campus for home games. The new facility will be able to accommodate eight times that many. He says a group called “Crossland Prosperity” made the project economically feasible for the school.
“Stepped forward and said we believe in where you’re going, we believe in the mission of the school and we would be happy to do that for the school. So they purchased the facility for us and they’re leasing it back to us while we raise the funds in order to be able to purchase it,” said Decker.
Decker says a $385,000 donation from the Herzog Foundation is also helping with the purchase. He says a new eight-man football field, soccer field, and tennis courts will eventually be built to go along with existing baseball and softball fields.