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University Relations

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


Demolition Signals Progress Toward New Mixed-use Facility

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 28, 2014) –  Climbing aboard a track hoe with a representative of AT Industries, Kansas City, to guide him at the controls, University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose ceremonially launched the demolition of the university’s General Services Building (GSB) on Thursday, March 27 by breaking off a small piece of the east brick wall. His efforts were part of a public ceremony to highlight progress at UCM.

Ambrose track hoe
UCM President Charles Ambrose climbs outside the cab of a track hoe after removing a small section of brick from the east wall of the General Services Building, the site of the new mixed-use facility.

Demolition will clear the site for the new 325-bed mixed-use residence hall and retail facility, which will serve as a living and learning center at UCM, and is expected to cost approximately $42 million by the time it opens in fall 2015. It is part of a total $60 million initiative that also includes relocating the university’s Facilities, Planning and Operations unit from the GSB to  the east side of campus, and improvements to Audrey J. Walton Stadium at Vernon Kennedy Field, located directly south of the new mixed-use facility.

The busy morning of progress activities began with a brief ceremony in the atrium of the Elliott Student Union, where Ambrose spoke about progress under the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract, a measure designed to help students graduate in four years. Opportunities at the Union event also included viewing of architectural drawings of the new mixed-use facility, which will be known as “The Crossing –South at Holden,” and details about
SPIN! Pizza, which is a new restaurant that will be located on the lower level of the mixed-use facility. The gathering of about 200 people also got to sample the university’s official cookie, which was introduced to the campus community on Thursday.            

Out of approximately 200 people who gathered in the Elliott Student Union, more than 100 followed the president and members of the Board of Governors to the site of The Crossing project at 116 W. South St. to watch Ambrose ceremonially remove the first bricks with construction equipment that will be used in the demolition process. Among the spectators were UCM faculty, staff, students, alumni, members of the community, and key individuals associated with the building project. This includes representatives of Kansas City area firms Gould Evans, project master planner, and McCownGordon Construction, the design-builder. Treanor Architects, Kansas City, is also serving as the architect of record on the project.

“This is part of our contract for completion, taking Learning to a Greater Degree,” Ambrose told media representatives in attendance, shortly after he climbed out of the track hoe cab.

He pointed out the largest capital project in UCM’s history will provide a “new front door to the university.” “It really underlines the fact that in college learning takes place whenever and wherever students are,” the president added. “This is going to be one of those projects that will re-define, not only the University of Central Missouri, but how colleges can really help students be successful with their degree.”

UCM President Charles Ambrose, center, is joined by UCM alumni, Freddy Allison, a 2000 graduate who serves as senior superintendent for McCownGordon Construction,  and Scott Gebken, a 2012 UCM graduate who serves and health and safety coordinator for AT Industries, Inc. Both grads are involved in the new mixed-use facility project.

Part of the Learning to a Greater Degree Contract for student completion also includes a requirement that students reside on campus their first two years of college. Other requirements include taking at least 15 hours of classes per semester, attending class regularly and meeting with campus academic advisors on a regular basis.

Ambrose was joined during the demolition ceremony by a couple of UCM alumni who will have key roles in the project. They were Scott Gebken, a 2012 UCM graduate who serves and health and safety coordinator for AT Industries, Inc., and Freddy Allison, a 2000 UCM alumus who serves as senior superintendent for McCown Gordon Construction.

“To be able to come back here and be a part of this is pretty amazing,” Allison said.

He spoke briefly about the construction and demolition process, noting that full-scale demolition will get underway on Monday, March 31. Groundbreaking will begin late April for the new facility.

Gebken, who earned a bachelor’s degree in safety management from UCM, began his job with AT Industries in September 2013. He will manage the safety aspects of the demolition process, making weekly inspections, and making certain all safety regulations are followed. He said he was looking forward to his work on this important project for his alma mater.

“I heard we got this job and I was excited from the get-go. I’ve parked in this parking lot nearby, I’ve walked up and down the sidewalks a thousand times, and it’s just cool to come back and be a part of it.”

The first residence hall construction since the 1960s, the mixed-use facility will provide views of Audrey J. Walton Stadium at Vernon Kennedy Field,  which is also getting renovations such as new locker rooms, which are moving from the GSB, new restrooms and visitors seating on the east side of the field.

The mixed-use facility will provide 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 will also include an outdoor plaza area, retail space within the building, including a new University Store, SPIN! Pizza and a Starbucks coffee shop.