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McCownGordon Named Construction Manager for STEM Facility Renovation

By Jeff Murphy, December 18, 2015

WARRENSBURG, MO – As the University of Central Missouri further enhances its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education capabilities through renovation of the Wilson C. Morris Science Building (WCM), an important step to move the project forward took place Dec. 11 as the Board of Governors awarded a contract to McCownGordon Construction in Kansas City, Mo., to serve as construction manager.

Under the agreement, McCownGordon will receive $35,000 for the Preconstruction Phase of the project, and will be paid 2.75 percent of the guaranteed maximum price for the project. The university plans to have design and construction documents completed by February 2016, and construction work will begin in May 2016. McCownGordon will work with the university and Gould Evans Associates, the contracted architectural and engineering firm from Kansas City, to evaluate and consult on the construction project program, phasing schedule, and budget. McCownGordon also will provide preliminary cost estimates and development of potential subcontractors and suppliers, and provide construction phase services.

UCM President Charles Ambrose said the W.C. Morris Science Building is a critical part of providing a STEM education at UCM, and the university is looking forward to working with both McCownGordon and Gould Evans on the project. Both of these companies were key partners in the construction of the largest capital building project in the university’s history, The Crossing – South at Holdn, a 325-bed mixed-use facility which opened in fall 2015.

 In renovating the WCM, the university benefits from House Bill 19, which was signed into law by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon earlier this year. The measure provides $12.2 million for renovation inside the four-story building, which is located on the west side of the university quadrangle. Although some laboratories and classrooms have been renovated in recent years, this would be the first major renovation of the facility since it opened in 1968.

The $12.2 million in state appropriations will provide a partial renovation focusing on increased utilization and safety of existing teaching laboratories and classrooms in chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology and earth science. This initiative will enhance the teaching-learning environment by improving the infrastructure, classroom and laboratory spaces to serve the changing needs of today’s science and mathematics programs.

Due to extensive repairs that are needed, some of the original laboratory spaces used for both teaching and student research have been temporarily taken off line. Such issues have resulted in a reduced number of seats available for both the general education courses and the major specific courses in math, science and teacher preparation.

Renovation of the WCM will increase building utilization, safety and efficiency of space. It will enable the university to not only increase graduation rates, but will contribute to increased numbers of graduates in professional applied sciences and technologies, and STEM areas, and help better prepare mathematics and science teachers who can work in Missouri. Improvements to WCM will be dispersed across all four floors and encompass the following:

-Cabinetry, flooring, lighting, and support infrastructure of laboratories and classrooms will be reconfigured, modernized, and/or expanded;
-Safety utilization issues will be prioritized;
-Some staff and faculty offices and common spaces will be included as they impact renovation of laboratories and classrooms; and
-Some renovation along with structural repairs will take place on the building exterior.

Chris Bamman, director of facilities, planning and operations, said the university hopes to complete the WCM renovation project within the next two and one-half years. Every effort will be made to improve the facility without greatly impacting student learning that will be taking place at the same time renovation is underway.

In addition to work made possible through state funding, Bamman noted that the university plans to conduct general repairs to the building envelope at a cost of $1.7 million; renovate and provide accessibility upgrades to restroom facilities at approximately $300,000; roofing replacement estimated at $1.1 million; and hazardous materials abatement costing an estimated $250,000. Funding for these improvements will come from university reserves and maintenance and repair funding.


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