Projects Include Improved Corridor to the Warrensburg Community
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 14, 2010) – While the University of Central Missouri is bustling with activity since the fall 2010 semester began, work continues on important capital projects that will provide the university with a “front door” to the Warrensburg community in addition to making significant progress in key areas that will help attract students to campus.
To passersby, some of the most highly visible signs of progress in recent weeks include the new wrought iron and stone pillar fence that extends to the north and south of the pedestrian overpass on Highway 13 and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which is being built west of the highway. As plans for the recreation center were underway, discussion about the need for the new fence began in the fall 2007 as a way to improve the campus aesthetically and help brand the university.
New fencing under construction along the Highway 13/Maguire Street corridor through campus will add to the aesthetics of the campus and surrounding community.
Betty Roberts, vice president for administration and finance, said many visitors, including prospective students, often receive their first impression of UCM based on what they observe when approaching the campus on Highway 13. Aesthetically, the existing chain link fence left a negative impression, she noted.
“Understanding that students and other campus visitors form their impressions of UCM within the first few seconds of their arrival on campus, we believe the new fence is a good investment. It will provide much greater curb appeal than the existing fence, and offer a new corridor to the university with a more welcoming feel,” Roberts said. “That should leave an indelible impression of UCM to those traveling on Highway 13.”
The fence is designed by Moody Noland architects and is being built by Reasbeck Construction. It is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.
The structure features stone pillars that complement the university’s existing architecture, and will include ceramic images of the university crest in several different areas to make it consistent with the institution’s graphic identity. It also is being built with safety in mind, and will feature sliding gates that allow emergency vehicles to quickly enter campus from Highway 13.
Roberts said the fence ties in nicely with the construction of the new Student Recreation and Wellness Center and renovations to the Morrow-Garrison Complex, which enhance the institution’s improved front door to Highway 13. Morrow-Garrison, which benefitted from $13.1 million in state funding provided through the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative, will house classrooms, labs, and offices for the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Nutrition. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which is expected to help attract students to campus, will provide a place for working out and enjoying recreational activities such as basketball, jogging and indoor rock climbing. The combined cost of these projects is about $36 million and construction is about 74 percent complete overall. The facilities are projected to become fully operationally by Jan. 1, 2011.
While curb appeal isn’t one of the goals for the $36.1 million campuswide energy savings project, known as ESCO, the demolition of the Power Plant building at the corner of South Street and Highway 13 has provided an improved view of the campus for individuals traveling through Warrensburg. The university launched the ESCO project during the spring of 2009 in cooperation with Trane, and complete installation is now expected by mid-November. Energy savings is expected to help pay for most of the project cost.
In addition to these projects, the university in recent months has initiated sidewalk and parking lot upgrades; the installation of a new fire alarm system in Ellis Hall, completed in August; renovation to Todd Hall, which was ready for student occupants in August; and the demolition of Hawkins Hall. Asbestos abatement is now completed at Hawkins Hall, and demolition should begin later this fall. The university also is in the design development stage of a new $1.5 million club house at Pertle Springs, made possible by a private gift from Audrey J. Walton, Versailles. Wellner Architects is expected to complete the design by the end of October, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in late December.