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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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UCM Receives National Science Foundation Grant for Chemistry Lab Renovations

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 12, 2010) – Expansion and renovation of chemistry laboratory space will soon be underway at the University of Central Missouri thanks to a $451,813 National Science Foundation grant. The project will benefit students in UCM’s Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics and the Center for Alternative Fuels and Environmental Sciences.

The NSF recently notified Scott McKay, chair of the department and principal investigator for the grant, that the award was made for the much-needed expansion and upgrade of student laboratory facilities on the W.C. Morris Building’s fourth floor. The current facilities will be expanded from 975 to 2,200 square feet, allowing the department to meet the increasing demands for student research space and the growing research and development aspect of CAFES at UCM.  The grant is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“We’ve experienced a significant increase in enrollment in chemistry coursework, growing from 38 to 108 majors in the past three years,” McKay said. “All undergraduate chemistry majors are required to complete research projects, and scheduling lab space has become a major problem. This will make it possible for students to complete their work in a timely manner while working on larger projects in a lab with more comprehensive safety features.”  He added that many of these students also are affiliated with CAFES at UCM, providing an indirect benefit to that program as well.

 McKay said the staff of UCM’s Office of Facilities, Planning and Operations provided a great deal of assistance in preparing the grant proposal. With the grant approved, architectural and engineering work can begin, followed by bid solicitation for construction. The project timeline will be established as soon as detailed plans are finalized.

 “The department has worked very closely with Facilities, Planning and Operations during the past 13months to determine what was needed and how we could best improve the current facilities to meet those needs,” McKay said. “They are the experts on the current infrastructure of this building. We could not have successfully completed the grant application without their help, and we will rely on their assistance until the project is complete.”

Alice Greife, dean of the UCM College of Science and Technology, said the improvements funded by the grant will allow the Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics to serve more students and promote the growth of undergraduate research experiences.

“This laboratory will serve not only chemistry majors, but also students studying in other academic majors who are completing chemistry courses as required or elective coursework,” she added. “The departmental faculty and the Facilities, Planning and Operations staff are to be commended for the cooperative effort that brought this grant funding to UCM.”

Learn more about the Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics and its academic programs at, or receive additional information about CAFES at UCM at