Skip to Main Navigation | Skip to Content

University Relations

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


UCM Celebrates the Grand Opening of The Crossing

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 23, 2015) – Celebrating what University President Charles Ambrose has called “a new front door to the university,” about 200 people, including members of the University of Central Missouri campus, alumni, and community residents, participated in the grand opening of The Crossing – South at Holden.

On a sunny afternoon, Aug. 20, the crowd gathered in an area between the new Starbucks coffee shop and the lobby of the residential part of the building as Ambrose kicked off the ceremony with opening remarks. He emphasized the strong community-university connection that this new 325-bedroom, retail-student housing facility symbolizes.

Crossing Open House
University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose kicks off the grand opening of The Crossing – South at Holden with opening remarks.

“What a day in the life of the University of Central Missouri,” Ambrose told the gathering, noting that the university’s “intent in opening this front door is to make sure you couldn’t tell where the community stopped and the university began, because we are very interdependent upon each other for the type of experience that we offer our students.

“I’ve told many people programs are designed to buildings, but this is a building designed to be a movement. It’s about taking learning to a greater degree and engaging in the life of the university, future focused academics, and all of those things that are important. Making that come to life in a physical symbol as well as a usable symbol is something that we are celebrating today,” he told the crowd.

Providing an economic boost to the Warrensburg community, The Crossing is a 185,000 square-foot, 325-bed mixed-use residence hall and retail facility, which will serve as a living and learning center at UCM. It provides a combination of two- and four-bedroom units that feature kitchens, living areas, and private bathrooms for each two students, with supporting community spaces. It also includes an outdoor plaza area, and retail space within the building, including a new University Store, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza and Starbucks coffee shop.

Crossing Reception
Following comments by a number of speakers outside, a long line of individuals pass through the residence hall lobby at The Crossing – South at Holden to sample cookies, cake and drinks as part of the grand opening celebration.

Located north of Audrey J. Walton Stadium, and having views of Vernon Kennedy Field, The Crossing was part of a $60 million multi-phase initiative, making it the largest capital construction project in UCM’s history. It included the relocation of the General Services Building (GSB) to the former South East Elementary School on the east side of campus, and improvements to Audrey J. Walton Stadium, such as moving locker rooms from the GSB to the lower level of Walton Stadium, and installation of  new visitors seating and restrooms on the east side of the facility.

Ambrose spoke about the process that went into development of The Crossing.  Following discussion and planning that began in 2012, the university in February 2014 began moving its employees out of the GSB to newly renovated and constructed facilities at the former South East Elementary School location.  In Marcy 2014, demolition of the GSB began.

“Think about this, it took 795 professionals in the trades to bring this project to life, 8,500 cubic yards of concrete, 250 tons of steel, 380,000 bricks, 72 miles of wiring, 4,400 electrical outlets, 5,000 light fixtures, and a payroll of over $15 million. That went directly back into the economy by virtue of this project. And that’s really significant,” Ambrose said, “because our partners made that happen. But at the same time, this facility did not come to life until last Sunday (Aug. 16) when 325 students moved in and took this from being a building to making it a home."

The president also noted that the facility represents 134 new jobs for students, which is consistent with the university’s goal to provide more student employment opportunities under its contract for student completion.

Ambrose praised the work of the partners in the building project, including Gould Evans, project master planner/designer; McCownGordon Construction, design-builder; and Treanor Architects, the architect of record. He also recognized the contributions of members of the UCM Board of Governors, including Warrensburg members, Weldon Brady and Mary Dandurand, secretary; Marvin “Bunky” Wright, president from Columbia; Dr. Gus Wetzel, vice president from Clinton; John Collier, Weston; Walt Hicklin, Gravois Mills; and Mary Long, Kansas City.

“It was their leadership, courage and foresight that made this project possible,” Ambrose said.

Following Ambrose’s comments, Senator David Pearce, 31st Senatorial District and chair of the Senate Education Committee, said, “What a great place, and this will serve as a lasting tribute.” He talked about the definition of “crossing,” noting that it is a “verb meaning to move, pass or extend from one side of a place to another.

“Isn’t that what college is all about, moving from one place to another - taking students one day and when they graduate they are a totally different person,” Pearce said. “And another idea is that we move from the university to the community, that we cross in our lives and our educational careers, and this is what the crossing is all about.”

Pearce talked briefly about  the state legislature’s obligation to honor and support Missouri’s 13 public universities, which have a tremendous impact on the state. He noted that state appropriations to public colleges and universities have increased for the upcoming year, but “you can never do enough when it comes to funding higher education.”

“If you look where those institutions are, that’s always where economic growth and vitality is, so if you invest in higher education, you are truly investing in the future,” Pearce said.

Board President Bunk Wright spoke about The Crossing as a source of pride for the campus.

“I’ve been around higher education for a long time, and it’s one of the most outstanding facilities I have ever seen. We’re proud of it,” Wright said. “The board of this institution appreciates everything everyone has done to get this accomplished.”

He added, however, “I don’t want to put a damper on it, facilities are important, but this is a great, great university, and what makes it great are the people - the faculty, staff and students. From the board standpoint, it’s the culmination of people and facilities.”

Other individuals who spoke at the event included Pat McCown, chief executive officer at McCownGordon Construction; Dennis Strait, principal at Gould Evans; Rhocia Ibok, a senior music education major from Liberty, who resides at The Crossing; and Deborah Curtis, provost-chief learning officer at UCM.

The grand opening followed a special ribbon cutting ceremony that was conducted Aug. 12 by UCM and the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize the new retail businesses in The Crossing.  Representatives of those enterprises spoke during that special event.