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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • S&T seeks $60 million for construction projects

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology has asked the state to provide more than $60 million toward its campus construction projects.
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  • Missouri University of Science and Technology has asked the state to provide more than $60 million toward its campus construction projects.
    University of Missouri curators on Friday approved requesting those funds, as well as millions of dollars more in state money for 10 other building and renovation projects proposed by the other University of Missouri system schools in Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City, The Kansas City Star reported.
    The funding requests are part of a system-wide list of capital improvement projects, some of which have been waiting years for state money, said Bob Simmons, associate vice chancellor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
    Wayne Goode, chairman of the UM Board of Curators, said it has been nearly a decade since the state has allocated money toward capital improvements on any of the campuses.
    "The system currently has a $1.3 billion backlog in renovation and repair," according to a report in Friday's curators' meeting information.
    Among the requests from Missouri S&T are $28.5 million in state support for renovating Schrenk Hall for chemistry and biological sciences. The proposed project will renovate 141,000 square feet in the existing Schrenk Hall.
    This is the second phase of improvements for chemistry, chemical/biological engineering and biological sciences.
    The first phase is the new 69,630-square-foot chemical/biological engineering building officially named Bertelsmeyer Hall, estimated at $22.3 million to be funded with debt that is serviced by campus development and internal funds.
    The proposed improvements would rectify significant deficiencies by providing a much needed increase in teaching and research laboratories while addressing the lack of adequate classroom and support spaces.
    The renovated facility will consolidate teaching and research functions that are currently spread over multiple buildings on campus, several of which are scheduled for demolition.
    The renovated space will allow several well-funded research programs to be relocated creating unified departments that will further enhance collaborative and interactive research. These dynamic programs include The Cloud and Aerosol Sciences Laboratory and S&T's Coatings Institute.
    The university also wants the state to provide $20.7 million for a new undergraduate learning center. This project would demolish the 27,000-square-foot Basic (Interdisciplinary) Engineering Building and build a new 75,000-square-foot Undergraduate Learning Center on the same site.
    The project would provide for classrooms, laboratories and offices for undergraduate engineering programs and students. The facility will also help address the need for additional faculty office space, increasing faculty-student interaction and retention.
    Undergraduate students total 5,672, an increase of more than 50 percent during the past 10 years.
    Finally, $16.4 million has been requested to put on an addition to the university's Emerson Electric Hall. This project will construct a 40,000-square-foot addition to the northwest side of the existing building.
    According to the UM system, this addition is badly needed for the fast growing electrical and computer engineering department for classroom, graduate offices as well as instructional and research laboratories.
    Page 2 of 2 - The research and education that will take place in the facility can have impacts on how energy consumption is dealt with and its impact on the atmosphere.
    Environmental quality and reduced resource waste play an important role in the creation of this project. A preliminary estimate and programming study was developed in April of 2006.
    The electrical and computer engineering department provides both lecture and laboratory experiences to students and is one of the largest departments on campus. The department has 589 undergraduate majors and 193 graduate students, offering B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.
    Faculty members in this department are internationally known for their scientific contributions in fields ranging from power and energy to electromagnetic and intelligence systems.
    The improvements will advance both the teaching and research missions of this department, positively impacting 782 students majoring in these disciplines, according to the UM system.
    These funding requests will be submitted to the Department of Higher Education for use in ranking projects for the Missouri General Assembly Joint Committee on Capital Investment. All of these projects would also be candidates for funding through state debt financing.
    The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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