Sports-focused charter school to open second campus in Osceola Heritage Park

A Little Havana charter school that prepares student athletes for sports-related careers will open its second campus in Kissimmee at Osceola Heritage Park.

The nonprofit SLAM Foundation (Sports Leadership and Management) opened its first campus in 2003 a block from the Miami Marlins stadium, and now serves 2,000 middle and high school students.

Osceola County Commissioners on Monday approved a 10-year lease with SLAM for the 13,000-square-foot building adjacent to Osceola County Stadium. The building was occupied by U.S. Specialty Sports Association until its lease expired Jan. 31.

SLAM will invest $1.2 million in building renovations to convert the building into a school with multiple classrooms and instructional rooms, a science lab, computer lab and cafeteria. The school, which received its charter from Osceola County Schools in 2016, will be designed to accommodate 250 students.

SLAM’s mission is to prepare students and athletes for post-secondary studies and career tracks such as Sports Medicine, Sports Broadcasting and Digital Media Production, as well as Sports Marketing, Entertainment and Management. 

In 2016, SLAM Academy became the first school ever awarded a channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio to be produced by students of the SLAM network. The SLAM Foundation also has partnerships with MLB and NASCAR, and provides mentorships and internships.

"We're delighted to have them here," Kissimmee Sports Foundation director John Poole told GrowthSpotter. "I think it's great that at such a young age they have exposure to all of the sporting events here, because we are such a strong sports tourism market."  

The charter school allows Osceola County to fill a major vacancy at OHP following the loss of its two largest tenants, USSSA and the Houston Astros spring training. 

The county and KSF contracted with Diamond 9 Events, beginning Jan. 1, to run youth and college-level baseball tournaments at the facility. And the Florida Fire Frogs, a Class A Atlanta Braves' affiliate, moved into Osceola Stadium last year after the Astros concluded their final spring training there.

The county will not charge rent to SLAM for the first five years of the lease term. The foundation will pay $18.28 per square foot, for a total of $237,640, in year six of the initial lease with a 2 percent annual escalator each year. The lease is renewable for up to 30 years.

The lease also includes exclusive use of one multipurpose field, to be used for PE classes, and use of one baseball field at OHP based on availability. The portion of the building that contains the stadium's visiting team clubhouse and locker room is excluded from the lease. 

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