Plans to upgrade the Experimental Mine facility at Missouri University of Science and Technology are moving forward with the University of Missouri Board of Curators' recent approval of a $1.2 million state capital appropriations request.
The curators approved a Higher Education Capital Fund state capital appropriations request for $1.2 million at their meeting Sept. 12-13 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The remainder of the $2.4 million project will be funded by an in-kind donation of a pre-engineered building valued at $850,000 (including materials and design) from Jack Kennedy Metal Products and Building Inc., and cash donations totaling $350,000 from The Doe Run Co. and Mississippi Lime Co.
Under the Higher Education Capital Fund, also known as the 50/50 match program, campus projects with private donations or grants equal to half the cost of the project may apply for matching state funds for the remaining half.
The new steel building will include 15,000 square feet of space for research and teaching, with classrooms to seat 180 students.
Three laboratories will function as workstations for the university's mine rescue and mucking teams for professional and intercollegiate competitions.
The facility will provide much needed room to accommodate the increased number of students enrolled in Missouri S&T's mining and explosives engineering programs. Enrollment has increased by more than 130 percent since 2006, from 152 to more than 350.
The Missouri S&T Experimental Mine supports teaching and research initiatives in mine ventilation and atmospheric control, rock mechanics and ground control, drilling and blasting, explosives, mine survey, transportation and infrastructure, mineral processing, mine power and drainage, and surface and underground mining methods.
The mine is also used by the U.S. Army and by the Department of Homeland Security for tests and research.
It is one of only two sites in the country where professional mine rescue competitions are held to train first responders in mine disasters.
It also hosts more than 6,000 visitors from across the United States each year for educational and public awareness purposes.