Missouri S&T to gather feedback on former Bureau of Mines buildings

RDN REPORTS
FILE - Aerial photo of the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus.

The public comment period will begin Jan. 25 and close on Feb. 24. Anyone who wants to comment may complete the 2021 BOM survey. The public will also have an opportunity to provide feedback in an open forum at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, through Zoom at umsystem.zoom.us/j/91696454574

“We want to ensure that community members have a chance to give us their comments on our plans for the buildings,” says Ted Ruth, assistant vice chancellor of facilities services at Missouri S&T. “We are part of the Rolla community, and we want to make sure we are inclusive in our campus planning.”

The university has found that the three BOM structures do not meet the school’s needs for space on campus and that the cost to renovate and retain the buildings to meet modern standards would be prohibitive. A facility assessment of BOM 1 completed in 2010 classified the building’s condition as poor and cited several physical deficiencies.

BOM 1 is the largest of the three buildings located south of the Havener Center near the intersection of University Drive and Bishop Ave. The four-story brick building was constructed in 1947 and slightly altered to take its current form in 1950. The building was individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places in April 2017. BOM 2 is a zinc pilot plant constructed in 1944, and building 3 is a core library built in 1945. These buildings have been significantly altered over the years and were ineligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register.

The draft 2020 Campus Master Plan calls for the demolition of all three BOM buildings to make way for new developments on the site. The buildings are in an area identified by the master plan as the new Arrival District, which will provide a formal entrance by reconfiguring University Drive from U.S. Interstate 44 into the center of the S&T campus. These buildings were originally owned by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, a federal agency established in 1910 to conduct research on mineral extraction, processing, use and conservation. An agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Mines closed in 1996, and the university assumed responsibility for the property.

The BOM property would become the site of a new Student Experience Center where S&T will offer student services and experiences to maximize career success, enhance access to health and wellness programs, and improve the first-year student experience. Plans for the new building include an enclosed pedestrian bridge to link the Student Experience Center with the Havener Center. The Havener Center is the student activity center for the campus and houses more than 5,000 events per year that involve students, faculty, staff and the general public. The construction project will also create a new service entrance for Havener to keep delivery vehicles away from pedestrian traffic.