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University Relations

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


Lee’s Summit R-7, UCM Celebrate Milestone in MIC Construction

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 13, 2016) – A milestone in the construction of the new Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus was celebrated Thursday, Oct. 13, as officials from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri gathered together for a Beam Topping Out Ceremony at the building site.

MIC topping out Ambrose

University of Central Missouri  President Charles Ambrose signs an 1,169-pound beam that will be hoisted into place at the construction site of the new Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation campus in Lee’s Summit. The Beam Topping Out ceremony represents a milestone in this joint partnership between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and UCM to build a new shared facility, scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

During the Topping Out the Beam ceremony, Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM marked the placement of the final steel beam on the 140,000-square-foot building. The beam event is a tradition among steel workers and construction firms, symbolizing significant progress made in the construction process. With an American flag and small tree attached, the 1,169-pound final beam was hoisted into place, becoming the last beam tying the structure together. It joins nearly 942 tons or 72 truckloads of steel that have gone into the building project, under the management of McCownGordon Construction. Architectural firms for the new facility are DLR Group and GouldEvans, all of the Kansas City area.

The event included brief remarks from Charles Ambrose, UCM president; Dave Benson, R-7 interim superintendent; and Brent Blevins, R-7 deputy superintendent of operations. About 40 people attending the event, including members of the construction crew, had the opportunity to sign the final beam before it was positioned onto the building via a large crane.

Ambrose praised the cooperative relationship that has led to the new building involving UCM, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, and its Summit Technology Academy. He also thanked Metropolitan Community College and numerous business partners who are involved in The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC).  Formed in 2012, students currently take classes at the Summit Technology Academy (STA), beginning their junior year of high school, and approximately by the time they earn their high school diploma they also will earn an associate degree from MCC. Students go on to complete their four- year degree at UCM, two years ahead of most students their age.

MIC iron workers

Iron workers at the site of the new Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit position the final steel construction beam into place during a Beam Topping Out ceremony Oct. 13 celebrating this milestone in the building process.

“I do want to put today into context of what is happening. This is the only K-16 accelerated pathway in the nation leading to a degree that builds in a three-year paid internship with 45 business partners across the metro,” Ambrose said. He praised students who are participating in The MIC and their families for supporting the program, among many others.

“So for every person who has a hand in this facility - the very skilled team of McCownGordon and all of your contractors, to all the leadership of this district, to the school board, to Metropolitan Community College, all we can say is ‘thank you,’” Ambrose said, adding that the “beneficiaries are going to be those leaders of the future who are going to be educated here.”

Benson began the program noting , “This is a very important venture for us as we seek a community partnership to help our students bridge the gap between K-12 education and post-secondary education. The Lee’s Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus building is a great step forward in that process. This school was made possible by the 2015 no-tax increase bond issue that was just generously passed by our community with 80 percent support. So, I want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the entire Lee’s Summit community for their support for this project.”

“We’ve got a building here that programmatically holds a lot of different things, and it took a lot of creative, collaboration, and flexibility,” Blevins said. “So I want to thank the UCM staff as well as the R-7 staff for making that happen.”

The new Summit Tech / MIC is scheduled to open in August 2017. The school is made possible thanks to a trailblazing partnership that was established by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri. The agreement led R-7 leaders to place the $40 million no-tax-increase bond issue on the election ballot, which also is funding numerous facility improvements at all R-7 schools. The new Summit Tech / MIC will be owned by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Through the unique partnership, UCM will pay for 60 percent of the building through a lease agreement with Lee’s Summit R-7 funding the remaining 40 percent. The facility will house Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy and the Missouri Innovation Campus, and UCM-Lee’s Summit.

Summit Technology Academy, established in 1999 by the R-7 School District, is a unique secondary school that prepares students for technology careers. UCM-Lee’s Summit is the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and undergraduate-level programs to metro-area students. The MIC is a nationally recognized program that accelerates the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly reduces college debt and provides job-ready skills that are highly sought after by businesses.

Thanks to the partnership and the use of shared spaces and resources, the new building will save money for both Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM while providing students with a state-of-the-art facility for learning.