MU engineering building plans for renovations

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COLUMBIA - Governor Jay Nixon toured Lafferre Hall on the MU Campus Thursday morning. Director of Administrative Services Marty Walker showed Nixon some concerns with the outdated building. 

Trash cans lined the halls catching water dripping from the ceiling. Students worked in a classroom without a proper ceiling. Some walls were deteriorating and shifting from the foundation. 

Soon after the tour Nixon and a panel of top Missouri officials gave approval to issue bonds for $38.5 million to renovate the engineering building.

Efforts have been ongoing with University of Missouri System friends and advocates to request that the Governor release these funds since the bond was originally vetoed in September. 

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said some of the buildings on campus haven't been updated in several years. 

"We're placing students today in locations here for classes and laboratories that really are unacceptable to us in terms of their quality," said Loftin.

Gov. Nixon said this project is at the top of the list for MU.

The Board of Public Buildings gave final authorization for the bonding which will pay for renovations.

Former Dean of Engineering Jim Thompson said the poor infrastructure in the building can hurt research. 

"This will better enable our faculty and students to compete at a national level," said Thompson.

Portions of the building were built in 1935 and 1944. 

The Missouri legislature approved $200 million in bonding for repairs and renovations to existing college buildings and $400 million for repairs for state buildings. 

Lafferre Hall is the first to get bonding approval.

Walker said the renovations will probably start in about 6 months.

"We have to get people in here first to assess the situation and figure out exactly what needs to be done," said Walker.

Audience members applaud after Gov. Jay Nixon approved bonds to allow the University of Missouri's Lafferre Hall to be renovated on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. Marty Walker, director of administrative services at the College of Engineering, said renovations could start in about six months.

Marty Walker, director of administrative services at the University of Missouri College of Engineering shows Gov. Jay Nixon a classroom in MU's Lafferre Hall on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. Walker said the classroom has walls that are deteriorating and if class is in session when the ceilings start leaking, it must be canceled because it would pose a safety risk to students.

Marty Walker, director of administrative services at the University of Missouri College of Engineering leads Gov. Jay Nixon through the hallways in MU's Lafferre Hall on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. Walker said the building has deteriorating walls, leaking ceilings and mobility constraints.

Marty Walker, director of administrative services at the University of Missouri College of Engineering shows Gov. Jay Nixon a newer computer room in MU's Lafferre Hall on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. Walker said it's hoped the rest of the building will be renovated to provide a better environment for student research.

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