By Jeff Murphy, January 26, 2018
WARRENSBURG, MO – The product of a trailblazing cost-saving partnership, The Missouri
Innovation Campus (MIC) facility was recently named one of 10 finalists in the South
by Southwest Learn by Design competition, which recognizes projects and design solutions
that enhance physical learning environments for students. The contest winner will
be selected during a live competition at the South by Southwest Education Conference
and Festival March 5-8 in Austin, Texas.
During the conference, Elaine Metcalf, principal of Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus, and Kevin Gresichar, DLR Group designer, will present the story behind the school’s design and the impact the facility has on learning. The cooperative efforts are part of an innovative solution to addressing the current crisis in state funding that impacts public education.
The MIC architect, DLR Group in Kansas City, submitted the nomination for this award. The new school houses the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy and Missouri Innovation Campus programs as well as graduate and undergraduate programs within the University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit.
Funding for the facility was made possible by a 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue as well as a unique partnership between public K-12 and higher education. Through this partnership with UCM, Lee’s Summit R-7 and the university constructed and are operating this cost-saving shared facility. Under the plan, Lee’s Summit R-7 is paying approximately 40 percent of the new school with UCM paying the remaining 60 percent. The R-7 School District is the sole owner of the school with UCM paying its portion through a lease agreement.
Summit Technology Academy is a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care and creative sciences. 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 greatly reduces the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly lowering college debt and providing job-ready skills that are highly sought after by business. The MIC program was highlighted by President Barack Obama during a visit to UCM’s Warrensburg campus in 2013.
The Missouri Innovation Campus features 60 classrooms including shared spaces for the school district and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. The facility takes advantage of exterior light with corridors that can double as additional learning areas at some locations. The MIC 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 provides everything from GED to computer software certification testing as well as electronic monitoring of individuals taking the exams.
The MIC building was previously recognized by the Association for Learning Environments, which recognized the facility through the presentation of the association’s 2016 Exhibition of School Planning and Architectural Award - Design Concept.
The community celebrated the new school at a Sept. 5 grand opening. In addition to educating high school and university students, The MIC hosts open house events throughout the year for prospective students, their families and local citizens.