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University Relations

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


Governor Publicly Announces More Than $12 Million to Improve WCM

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Aug. 25, 2015) – After signing legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Aug. 25 visited the University of Central Missouri to publicly announce what his “Building Affordability” initiative will mean for the university’s Wilson C. Morris Science Building (WCM).

Gov Nixon at UCM Aug 25
At a press conference at the University of Central Missouri on Aug. 25, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon publicly announced that the “Building Affordability” initiative will provide more than $12 million in funding for much-needed renovations of the Wilson C. Morris Science Building. In the background, from left, are Mary Long, member of the UCM Board of Governors from Kansas City; Monica Huffman, executive assistant to the president; Alice Greife, dean of the College of Science and Technology; and UCM President Charles Ambrose.

Nixon spoke to a crowd of about 150 people who gathered on the east side of WCM to learn more about the initiative, which he said will improve higher education facilities across the state and help maintain Missouri’s status as a national leader in holding down tuition increases.

“Last year, I proposed a significant package of forward-looking investments for college campuses across the state, including right here at UCM,” Nixon remarked. “This year the General Assembly answered that call, passing a bi-partisan, fiscally responsible bond issue that will allow these projects to get underway.

“As a result of this investment, we are spending $200 million on projects at two- and four-year colleges and universities throughout the state,” Nixon said. “We call this ‘Building Affordability’ because in addition to providing students with state-of-the-art facilities they need to prepare for jobs in the future, this effort will also help our colleges and universities hold down the cost of tuition. That’s because each additional dollar the state spends on these projects is a dollar the colleges and universities don’t have to raise through tuition and fees.”

At UCM, “Building Affordability” will provide $12.2 million to make needed repairs and improvements at the Wilson C. Morris Science Building. As part of the first significant renovation of this building since its construction in 1967, upgrades will be made at laboratories and classrooms used for classes in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, cybersecurity and computer science.

“Over the years, as lab space at W.C. Morris has fallen short of needs, fewer and fewer spots have been made available to students pursuing these STEM fields,” Nixon said. “That is what makes this investment so worthwhile.

Improving facilities, updating equipment, and expanding opportunities for more students is exactly the kind of impact we want to make in our ‘Building Affordability’ initiative. After all, we cannot train students for the jobs of the future in classrooms of the past. You cannot go from a 1960s lab into a 2020 job. It just won’t work. You have to match what’s in the private sector.”

“Building Affordability” is a component of “Build Missouri,” a capital improvements initiative that will fund nearly 500 projects in every corner of the state through bond proceeds and other sources. “Build Missouri” includes bond proceeds for repairs and renovations at state facilities, veterans homes, state parks and higher education campuses. It also includes funding for the completion of a new state-of-the-art mental hospital in Fulton, as well as non-bonding sources for other projects, including conservation areas, highway patrol facilities, and other facilities.

UCM President Charles Ambrose joined the Governor for the press conference, and accompanied him on a tour of the W.C. Morris Science Building minutes before the event. They were joined by members of the Governor’s staff, representatives of UCM’s Board of Governors, representatives of the College of Science and Technology, college deans, department chairs, faculty and staff members and students. The president also presented Gov. Nixon with t-shirts representing Jennies NCAA II indoor and outdoor national track and field championships, and a framed photo of faculty and staff members who gathered this spring to celebrate the Governor’s signature on legislation that made funding possible for the Wilson C. Morris Science Building.

“We’re here because Missouri is a state that cares about higher education,” Ambrose told those attending the press conference.

He added that the university has worked to help ensure that the Governor’s agenda for higher education is met.

“The Governor of the State of Missouri asked us to do a few things – give more students access to higher education, make certain we work together more collaboratively to be efficient, and provide an affordable opportunity to keep costs as low as possible for students,” Ambrose said. “This is a campus that has led the way.”