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University Relations

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



WCMorris.june2016

Work Begins on Renovation of UCM’s W.C. Morris Science Building

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 16, 2016) – Work has begun on the $18.4 million renovation of the W. C. Morris Science Building at the University of Central Missouri, a project that will provide state-of-the-art facilities for future generations of students studying the sciences, mathematics and computer science at the university.

Although various classrooms and laboratory facilities have been updated throughout the years, this is the first major renovation of the building, which was built in 1968 at a cost of $3 million. Renovation construction began in May following the end of the spring 2016 semester and will continue in four phases, with completion slated for early August 2017 in time for the fall 2017 semester. McCownGordon Construction, Kansas City, is the general contractor for the project, with design work completed by Gould Evans architects, Kansas City.

The project is funded with $12.2 million in state capital appropriations, along with $5.97 million in university reserves and $174,000 in the department reserves from the College of Health, Science, and Technology at UCM.

The state funding was provided by the passage by the Missouri Legislature of House Bill 19, which provided $200 million in state appropriations for STEM-education related capital projects at state colleges and universities across the state, including the $12.2 million for the W.C. Morris Building renovation.

The first phase of construction will be completed this summer, with the renovation of earth science and mathematics classrooms and offices on the first floor and the instrument lab on the fourth floor. Restrooms on the third floor will be upgraded as well. During fall semester, phase two will include upgrades of the animal biology lab on the second floor and the organic chemistry lab on the fourth floor.

The third phase, which will be completed during spring semester 2017, will include improvement of the restrooms on the first, second and fourth floors, along with the inorganic chemistry lab, also on the fourth floor. A major portion of the laboratory renovations will be completed during summer 2017 with the completion of the fourth phase, which includes the physiology, molecular biology and parasitology labs on the third floor, along with the physical chemistry, biochemistry and freshman chemistry labs on the fourth floor. Lecture rooms, offices and lab prep rooms also will be completed during this phase.

In addition to interior renovations, repairs also will be made to the exterior of the building, and the roof will be replaced.

UCM President Charles Ambrose expressed the university’s appreciation for the foresight of Missouri legislators in considering the importance of the purpose of House Bill 19.

“We appreciate the work of Sen. David Pearce and Sen. Mike Parson and their fellow legislators in providing Gov. Jay Nixon with this piece of legislation for his signature,” Ambrose said. “It provides reinforcement of Missouri’s commitment to the quality of education we offer to our students. It will help UCM provide a competitive edge for our students as they enter the job market, while providing the kind of learning environment that exemplifies learning to a greater degree.”

According to Alice Greife, dean of College of Health, Science and Technology, the renovation provides upgraded facilities for university programs in chemistry, biology, earth science, physics and computer science.

“The building does not currently provide the infrastructure, classroom and laboratory spaces needed to serve the changing needs of these programs,” Greife said. “Throughout the decades, new technology and advances in the sciences have necessitated significant changes in the curriculum in these fields of study. This renovation will allow us to offer laboratory and classroom facilities to our students that will prepare them to meet the demands of the professions they are seeking to enter.”

Greife also noted during the past decade, some laboratory spaces in the building have been taken off-line due to inadequacies and needed upgrades, resulting in a reduction in the number of seats available in general studies and major courses in math, science and teacher preparation.

“With the significant growth in university enrollment during recent years, it is now even more important that we maximize the opportunities for students to gain the hands-on laboratory experiences that are so vitally important in these fields of study,” she said. “With the completion of this renovation, we will significantly improve those capabilities, and our students will be the primary beneficiaries.”