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Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy celebrates grand opening

The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy will celebrate its official grand opening with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29 at 9:00am, prior to the Kansas City Royals Opening Day game versus the Chicago White Sox. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a Community Open House and Day of Play on Saturday, March 31 from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
March 22, 2018

KANSAS CITY, MO -- The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy will celebrate its official grand opening with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29 at 9:00am, prior to the Kansas City Royals Opening Day game versus the Chicago White Sox. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a

KANSAS CITY, MO -- The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy will celebrate its official grand opening with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29 at 9:00am, prior to the Kansas City Royals Opening Day game versus the Chicago White Sox. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a Community Open House and Day of Play on Saturday, March 31 from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
The academy is a state-of-the-art baseball, softball and education facility situated in the heart of Kansas City, at the 18th and Vine District. Designed by Kansas City-based Populous with JE Dunn Construction as the lead contractor, the facility features four outdoor turf fields, an educational press box, plus a 38,000-square-foot indoor facility, which includes a turf infield, four batting tunnels and four classrooms, including an athletic training room. This grand opening celebration comes less than two years after the academy's April 2016 groundbreaking. The academy was recently honored by the Kansas City Business Journal, receiving the 2018 Capstone Award for Community Impact, and is also a 2018 finalist in the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City's Cornerstone Awards.
"The KC MLB Urban Youth Academy will be a place of pride and impact for the Kansas City community for generations to come," said David Bower, principal at Populous. "We were thrilled to bring this dream to life with so many passionate community leaders including Mayor Sly James, Major League Baseball, the Kansas City Royals and Dayton Moore."
"We are so honored and proud to be a part of this incredible project," said Gordon Lansford, President & CEO of JE Dunn Construction. "The Urban Youth Academy will not only benefit Kansas City youth who play here, but also the entire Kansas City community through all the visitors it will attract."
KANSAS CITY MLB URBAN YOUTH ACADEMY CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING
The $21 million building project was made possible by the dedication and financial support of the City of Kansas City, MO, the State of Missouri, the Kansas City Royals, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and many generous donors, including million dollar donors, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation, Kansas City Southern, the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Salvador Perez, and the Sunderland Foundation. The Kansas City Royals have committed ongoing support of $10 million dollars over 20 years for the operational costs of the academy.
"This is a proud moment for our community, because it illustrates what we can achieve when we come together and collaborate," Mayor Sly James said. "Together Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Royals, the State and the City, have created a new resource for our 18th and Vine community, using professional baseball instruction as a vehicle to providing urban youth with educational training and career opportunities."
"We are delighted to see the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy officially open its doors for the young people of this community," said Tony Reagins, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development. "The baseball history and legacy connected here is unlike any other facility in our Youth Academy network, and we believe that will serve these young men and women well in their athletic and personal developments. We congratulate Mayor James, Dayton Moore and the entire Royals organization for this momentous day in Kansas City baseball history." 
The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy is a non-profit organization with the mission to empower Kansas City's underserved youth through baseball and softball, as well as academic and social opportunities, to be the leaders of tomorrow. The academy has already hosted an array of baseball and softball games in addition to elementary school field trips and instructional baseball and softball clinics. Following the grand opening, the academy will continue clinics, open workouts and the field trip program and will additionally serve as a host for the Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation's summer camp as well as begin an after-school program at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. All programming at the academy will be free for participants and their families. 
"The Royals organization is committed to the mission of the academy to provide our community's inner-city youth with a dual opportunity to develop into high-character, productive members of society, and at the same time learn the skills of our national pastime," said Dayton Moore, Royals General Manager and Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. "This is simply a dream come true for our entire organization, and we can't wait to get started. We consider it a privilege and an honor to serve our community in this very special way."
KANSAS CITY MLB URBAN YOUTH ACADEMY CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING
Grand Opening events will include the ribbon cutting on Thursday, March 29 at 9am, as well as the Community Open House and Day of Play on Saturday, March 31 from 11:00am to 3:00pm. The Open House and Day of Play will feature a Western Athletic Conference softball match-up between UMKC and New Mexico State, as well baseball games featuring local high schools and the local RBI programs. The day will also include baseball and softball instructional clinics, appearances by Sluggerrr and the Easter Bunny, free shaved ice, and free family fun activities, including face painters, balloon twisters and more!
Media is invited to both events for interviews and photo/b-roll opportunities.
About the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy:
The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy will officially open in 2018 to serve its mission of empowering Kansas City's underserved youth through baseball and softball, as well as academic and social opportunities, to be the leaders of tomorrow. Through our programs, we will build a strong foundation for Academy participants, based on work ethic, leadership, responsibility, accountability, and moral principles. This foundation will allow Academy participants to acquire that unwavering strength of purpose that is the keynote of all individual success. For more information, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/KCMLBUrbanYouthAcademy or www.twitter.com/kc_uya or visit www.mlb.com/kcuya.  
About MLB Youth Academies:
MLB Youth Academies offer free, or low-cost, year-round baseball and softball instruction for young people. Academies also stress the importance of academic success and mentorship within the community. The MLB Youth Academy mission began in Compton, California in 2006 and has since expanded to several more facilities, including Houston, Texas (2010), New Orleans, La. (2012), Washington, D.C. (2014), Cincinnati, Ohio (214), Philadelphia, Pa. (2015), Dallas, Texas (2017), and now Kansas City (2018). Additional facilities are being developed in the Bronx (N.Y.), Chicago (Ill.) and San Francisco (Calif.). Vocational programs and clinics at MLB Youth Academies include broadcasting, sports law, field maintenance, coaching, scouting, umpiring, and more in hopes of exposing youth to all careers within the baseball industry. MLB Youth Academies have seen more than 100 players drafted by professional baseball teams with over 500 more going on to play at the collegiate level. Notable Youth Academy alumni at the Major & Minor League levels includes Aaron Hicks (New York Yankees), Khris Davis (Oakland Athletics), Vince Velasquez (Philadelphia Phillies), Hunter Greene (#2 in 2017 by the Cincinnati Reds), J.P. Crawford (Philadelphia Phillies) and Dominic Smith (New York Mets).
KANSAS CITY MLB URBAN YOUTH ACADEMY CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING
About the Kansas City Royals:
The Kansas City Royals' baseball club is in its 50th season of existence. Established in 1969, the Royals compete in the American League Central Division. The franchise has won two World Series titles (1985, 2015) and have been champions of the American League four times (1980, 1985, 2014, 2015). The Royals are owned by the Glass Family, with David Glass serving as the Owner/CEO and his oldest son, Dan Glass, as the Team President. 
About the City of Kansas City, Missouri:
The City of Kansas City, Missouri is a world-class community filled with strong neighborhoods, arts, sports and entertainment. The City of Fountains, boulevards, jazz and barbecue covers 310 square miles and employs more than 4,300 employees in 19 departments providing hundreds of services to more than 480,000 residents. KC is the only North American city designated a UNESCO Music City.
About Populous:
Populous is a global architecture and design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Over the last 35 years, the firm has designed more than 2,500 projects worth $40 billion across emerging and established markets. Populous' comprehensive services include architecture, interior design, event planning and overlay, branded environments, wayfinding and graphics, planning and urban design, landscape architecture, aviation and transport design, hotels and hospitality, and sustainable design consulting. Populous has 14 offices on four continents with regional centers in Kansas City, London and Brisbane. For more information visit www.populous.com or follow @Populous on Twitter.
About JE Dunn Construction:
JE Dunn Construction, founded in 1924, is the 11th largest domestic general building contractor in the United States with offices in 20 locations. Our vision is to be an indispensable business partner for our clients by first understanding their purpose, goals and customers and then delivering transformational solutions with certainty of results. We maintain a commitment to our clients and their building goals while being true to our guiding principles - the philosophy of our business operation which is both family and employee-owned. JE Dunn's purpose is to enrich lives through inspired people and places. www.jedunn.com