Nixon authorizes sale of bonds for MU campus improvements

4 years 7 months 3 days ago Tuesday, February 17 2015 Feb 17, 2015 Tuesday, February 17, 2015 12:11:00 PM CST February 17, 2015 in News
By: Tiege Dooley-Panko, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon voted Tuesday to authorize the public sale of bonds to finance a $38.5 million renovation of Lafferre Hall at the University of Missouri's College of Engineering.

In addition to making needed repairs, the Lafferre Hall project will also provide additional state-of-the-art classroom and lab space to keep up with enrollment growth and prepare more Missourians for high-paying jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. 

"Increasing the number of Missourians with degrees in high-tech fields is vital to our economic competitiveness, so I'm pleased this project is moving forward," said Gov. Nixon. "These long-overdue renovations will not only improve the learning environment for students, they will also improve our economy and strengthen Missouri's position as a hub for high-tech jobs and innovation."

House Bill 2021 appropriated $38.5 million for the planning, design, and construction of strategic renovations and additions to Lafferre Hall. Last month, the Senate voted 31-3 to approve the Governor's proposal for the remaining $162 million in higher education repair and renovation projects around the state.

The project will repair and renovate portions of Lafferre Hall built in the 1930's and 1940's. In addition to repairing masonry and replacing windows and roofs, the area will be renovated to include experiential teaching and learning labs along with space for computer labs and a student machine shop.

The renovations will produce an additional 20,000 square feet for research space for engineering disciplines including Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The University of Missouri estimates the project will provide space for 3,300 students and eliminate more than $15 million in deferred maintenance. 

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

"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.

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