By Jeff Murphy, September 1, 2017
WARRENSBURG, MO – A new milestone representing progress in STEM education and an accelerated,
cost-saving pathway to a four-year college degree will be celebrated with Missouri
Gov. Eric Greitens joining metropolitan area residents and others attending the grand
opening of the new Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) building. The event takes place
at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 1101 NW Innovation Parkway, Lee’s Summit, and UCM tentatively
plans to provide livestreaming video of the event at ucmo.edu/micfacility/livestream.cfm.
The MIC grand opening is open to the public, and includes a Lee’s Summit Chamber of
Commerce ribbon cutting, tours of the new facility and refreshments. Gov. Greitens
plans to speak at the event, while also taking time to tour the building and meet
with a number of students who have participated in The MIC program.
“It’s very important to know that our state leaders are supportive of public school-higher
education partnerships that help make a college degrees more accessible and affordable,
while also reducing the amount of debt load students have after they graduate,” said
UCM President Charles Ambrose. “We look forward to having Gov. Greitens visit this
wonderful new facility, and the opportunity for him to learn more about the MIC from
the students who are benefiting from this great program.”
The new facility includes The Missouri Innovation Campus program, a nationally recognized
program that reshapes the way students experience education; Summit Technology Academy
(STA), a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such
as engineering, computer science, health care and creative sciences; and UCM-Lee’s
Summit, the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and
undergraduate-level completion programs to metro-area students. Students enrolled
in Summit Technology Academy as well as the Missouri Innovation Campus are from 14
metro-area school districts.
“This Missouri Innovation Campus is a shining example of what happens when organizations
and individuals work together for a greater good,” said Dennis L. Carpenter, Lee’s
Summit R-7 superintendent. “Thanks to our partnership with higher education and the
support of our community, we are able to save money for taxpayers and, most importantly,
better prepare our students for success in life.”
The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a progressive collaboration between the
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and UCM. By engaging
business partners and community organizations, The MIC offers an accelerated program
that shortens the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly
reducing college debt and providing job-ready skills that are highly sought after
Through the partnership, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and UCM joined forces
to construct and operate this state-of-the-art, cost-saving facility. Under a plan
developed by the two educational institutions, Lee’s Summit R-7 is paying for approximately
40 percent of the new school with UCM paying the remaining 60 percent. Through this
agreement, Lee’s Summit R-7 is the sole owner of the facility with UCM paying its
portion of costs through lease payments.
The shared facility reduces operating expenses for both organizations and allows the
school district to move both The Missouri Innovation Campus and Summit Technology
Academy programs from leased space into a building owned by Lee’s Summit R-7.
The R-7 School District’s portion of the facility’s cost is funded through a no-tax-increase
bond issue, approved by approximately 80 percent of voters in 2015. This $40 million
bond issue is also funding renovation and maintenance projects that are positively
impacting each R-7 school.
The new two-story building totals 135,000 square feet and is designed so that Lee’s
Summit R-7 and UCM will share interior learning and conference spaces as well as parking,
saving money for both organizations. The two partnering organizations have also worked
collaboratively on procurement to help generate additional savings on furniture, fixtures
Construction manager for the new school is McCownGordon. Design architect is Gould
Evans, and architect of record is DLR Group, all from the Kansas City area.
Through the MIC program, students begin their junior year of high school while attending
Summit Technology Academy. By approximately the same time they earn a high-school
diploma, they will have completed an associate degree from Metropolitan Community
College, finishing their four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM two years later. The
graduates will also have completed three years of paid internships with prestigious
Kansas City metro-area companies, which helps defray the costs of their education.
Many students who complete The MIC program land permanent jobs with the companies
in which they interned. In all, The MIC program is linked with more than 40 corporate
partners with industry representatives assisting in development of curriculum that
prepares students to immediately succeed in the workforce.
The new facility has been a goal for Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM leaders since the MIC
program was in the concept stage. This type of facility partnership between a public
school district and a university is unique both regionally and nationally and provides
a high-school/college environment that includes non-traditional teaching spaces designed
to mimic the workspace of the various fields.
The new school features 60 classrooms including shared spaces for the school district
and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. The facility
is designed to take advantage of exterior light with corridors that can double as
additional learning areas at some locations. The Missouri Innovation Campus also features
medical school-caliber skilled nursing labs and simulation rooms; professional quality
digital media technology; high-tech engineering, biomedical and computer science instruction
areas; and an international studies area with state-of-the-art distance learning technology.
A testing center is located on the second floor and will provide everything from GED
to computer software certification testing as well as electronic monitoring of individuals
taking the exams.
In the event that the MIC parking lots are full, overflow parking is available at
the old STA building at 777 N.W. Blue Parkway, Lees Summit, Mo. Follow the orange
cones to the designated area for parking. In the interest of pedestrian safetly, a
shuttle will run from this location to the MIC campus prior to the event and until
9 p.m. that evening.