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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Board Actions Include Pertle Springs Outdoor Recreation Area, Golf Course Enhancements

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 22, 2015) – In an effort to enhance Pertle Springs as a quality recreational and academic-use facility, the University of Central Missouri’s Board of Governors on June 19 acted on two separate requests that will lead to improved facilities at the popular campus/community-use area. The board adopted a resolution to amend the Student Recreation Center loan agreement to allow student fee reserve funds to finance major improvements at the recreational park. Utilizing other funding sources, the board also authorized a new18th hole island green as part of a major golf course renovation at Pertle Springs.

Contingent upon approval by the Missouri Higher Education Facilities Authority (MoHEFA), the university plans to use $1,436,000 in Student Recreation Center reserve funds for improvements to the outdoor park area at Pertle Springs. The total estimated cost is $1,586,000, although the university expects to receive about $462,000 in funds from the Missouri Department of Conservation toward Pertle projects.

Funding will enable the university to dredge Lake Cena, make road improvements, create an ADA-accessible hiking trail, and enhance other recreational facilities at Pertle Springs. These improvements have grown out of discussions that have been taking place regarding the facility for more than six years.

One of the recommendations in UCM’s 2009 Master Plan was that the university continue to upgrade Pertle Springs with a focus on academic and recreation enhancement. UCM conducted a Master Plan Study in 2012 that identified a number of potential improvements on the property, and in 2013, President Charles Ambrose established the Pertle Springs Enhancement Commission, consisting of students, faculty and staff, to consider academic opportunities and recreational improvements to Pertle Springs.

The commission in 2014 initiated activities to improve the Pertle Springs Trail System for both academic and recreational uses. UCM received a Community Assistance Program grant opportunity enabling some improvements to be financed through a cost share in which the Missouri Department of Conservation would finance 75 percent and the university 25 percent of the cost. One requirement to participate in the program, however, is that Lake Cena be dredged and refilled, and set at a minimum depth to satisfy requirements established by the conservation department. The cost share with MDC applies to the recreational facilities. UCM is responsible for the full cost of dredging Lake Cena, estimated at $800,000, and building the ADA-accessible hiking trail.

Funds to be applied toward the Pertle project are made possible by a $7 per-credit-hour fee that was approved by students in 2009 to fund debt service for the Student Recreation Center. Growing enrollment and debt financing has generated reserve funds that will partially be used toward Pertle Springs enhancements. To do so, the university must amend a loan agreement that was entered Dec. 1, 2013 between MoHEFA that authorizes use of the Student Recreation Center fee to pay costs of the Pertle Springs project and establishes a liquidity covenant.

18th island green

In other discussion related to Pertle Springs, the board approved change orders for Burns &McDonnell, Kansas City, for professional design fees in the amount of $23,000, and to Frontier Construction Company in Pennsylvania in the amount of $214,955 for construction of an island green at hole No. 18 at Keth Memorial Golf Course. This addition to work already in progress includes improvements at the pond overflow structure and a retaining wall at the shore line and at the green. The project is part of a major course renovation expected to be completed in October 2015, according to Chris Port, head golf professional and women’s golf coach at UCM, who spoke to the board.

These specific improvements are expected to make the 18th hole more challenging, but also safer for patio patrons at Traditions Restaurant on the north side of the hole. The University Foundation is financing the golf course improvement project through a loan to the university of approximately $2.4 million at 4 percent interest over a
15-year period.  Additional funding of $750,000 in donor contributions and $500,000 in Pertle Springs reserve funds will cover the total cost of the $3.6 million major course renovation project. Work on the course began earlier this year.

Port said course improvements, including the new island green, are expected to generate more interest among people who enjoy playing golf, and Pertle Springs will likely become a draw for people living as far away as the Kansas City area. Revenue generated from increased usage will help pay for the cost of improvements. Port estimated that the university could pay off the loan from the foundation up to two years earlier than planned.  

A full-service, 18-hole facility, the golf course at Pertle Springs was originally constructed as a nine-hole course in 1972. In fall 2007, the university renovated the driving range facility and removed the existing clubhouse structure. A new driving range was added in 2008, and after a $1.5 million gift from Audrey J. Walton, Versailles, a new 5,000-square foot clubhouse opened in November 2011.  Work currently underway will include replacing the golf course greens, which have exceeded their 30- to 35-year life expectancy, with PGA-spec greens; adding zoysia grass fairways; installing concrete cart paths, and many other measures that are expected to make the course a popular destination spot.