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


Hiring 'Bridging Designer' a Step Closer to New Housing-Retail Project

Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 22, 2012) – The University of Central Missouri Board of Governors on June 21 took a step closer to creating a new front entrance to the north side of campus by approving Gould Evans as the “bridging designer” for the new Student Housing - Mixed Use Development. 

The mixed-use facility was included in the 2012 update of the university’s Master Plan, and will be located on the north side of Audrey J. Walton Stadium on the current site of the General Services Building. It will provide a 320-bed apartment-style residence complex that modernizes the university housing system and supports growing enrollment while devoting its first floor to retail and dining opportunities. When completed, the University Bookstore’s retail operations will be relocated from the Elliott Union to the new site, and other yet-to-be-identified retail-food establishments will be added, making it attractive to students and the entire community.

"The new Student Housing - Mixed Use Development provides a vision for the future of student housing and at the same time a bridge to the community with new retail opportunities and partnerships," said UCM President Charles Ambrose. “The work of the Board of Governors and their support moves this project another important step forward.”

The university’s preliminary review and analysis estimate the project between $50-55 million, with Gould Evans’ fee equating to approximately 2 to 2.5 percent of the total cost. The university plans to finance the facility through a combination of bonding efforts, private funding, and use of university contingency funds that will be reimbursed after debt financing is secured. Fees generated from student rental agreements and lease agreements from retail establishments will help retire the debt.

The university will employ a “Design Build” approach to the project, whereby the architect partners reside within the construction contractor’s organization. As “bridging designer,” Gould Evans will provide architectural services for programming and a preliminary design of the proposed project, based on input from university administration and students. The architectural firm also will develop the Request for Proposals package for the Design Builder proposals, serve as the university’s representative during the design phase with the Design Builder, and finally provide quality assurance during the entire construction process. 

Board Vice President Weldon Brady, Warrensburg, made the motion to approve the “bridging designer,” after hearing a presentation by Dennis Strait, principal with Gold Evans. Strait said there are some significant measures that will take place before construction on the mixed-use facility begins. The first step entails relocating the General Services Building’s (GSB) operations to South East Elementary School, which was purchased earlier this year by the university to help make future development possible. This former school building will be renovated and a new steel building will be constructed on the property, which is located southeast of campus. The GSB facility will be demolished after the lower level of Audrey J. Walton Stadium is upgraded to accommodate a new football locker room, which is currently housed on the lower level of GSB. The university also plans to demolish the north end of Walton Stadium’s horseshoe area and replace it with sod, and make other stadium improvements that include enhanced entry areas, improved concourse and concessions, and visitors’ seating.

 As related to projected timing for the project, Strait said it may be possible for the university to open the new apartment-retail facility by fall 2015.