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University Relations

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


House Approves Capital Appropriations Bill, Including $12.2 Million for UCM   

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 7, 2015) –The University of Central Missouri’s ability to produce well-prepared graduates in areas that include STEM-related fields is enhanced by the Missouri House of Representatives’ passage of HB19. Now waiting Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature, the legislation approved by the House today authorizes $200 million in appropriations for capital projects at public colleges and universities across the state. This includes $12.2 million for renovation of UCM’s W.C. Morris Science Building.

W.C. Morris group photo

University of Central Missouri faculty and staff members who work in the W.C. Morris Science Building and others showed their thanks to Missouri legislators by posing for a group photo May 7, after UCM President Charles Ambrose informed them of the House of Representatives’ approval of House Bill 19. The capital appropriations bill includes
$12.2 million for renovation of WCM.

The W.C. Morris Science Building is a four-story structure on the west side of the university quadrangle,  built in 1968 at a cost of $3 million. Although some laboratories and classrooms have been renovated in recent years, this would be the first major renovation of the facility since its construction. The university’s Board of Governors in February approved $1.7 million for improvements in addition to this project that will benefit the Morris Building. 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.

“UCM appreciates legislators who considered the importance of facilities such as the W.C. Morris Science Building, and what they mean to the quality of students’ education and the future of this state,” said University President Charles Ambrose. “This initiative will enhance the teaching-learning environment needed to give our students a competitive edge in the job market. It also will help UCM to provide the kind of environment which exemplifies learning to a greater degree.”

In seeking capital funding, the university recognized the important role W.C. Morris provides in educating students in critical areas, and the types of upgrades that are needed to create the best possible learning environment. The building does not currently have the necessary 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 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.

“UCM is sincerely grateful for this opportunity to address some of the growing needs to renovate the W.C. Morris Science Building,” said Deborah Curtis, provost-chief learning officer. “Although a thorough renovation would require a much larger amount of resources, this initial work will go a long way to provide much-needed attention to laboratory space. Given our statewide mission in applied professional science and technology, we are thrilled to be able to make some progress on our science facilities.”

Alice Greife, dean of the College of Health, Science and Technology, added, “Renovations will assist our highly qualified faculty in providing an enhanced learning environment for students, and elevate our students’ competitiveness as they enter the workforce or pursue advanced degrees.”

WCM’s renovation will increase building utilization, safety and efficiency of space. It also 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 serve the state. Greater numbers of technically advanced education graduates also will benefit Missouri economically by becoming part of a more technically advanced workforce, and laboratory improvements will open new opportunities for students to engage in applied learning and research with a dedicated, knowledgeable faculty who support student success.

Improvements to WCM will be dispersed across all four floors and encompass the following:

Renovation of the WCM comes at a time when much progress is taking place at the university. This includes construction of The Crossing – South at Holden, a 325-bed student residential and retail facility that will be open in August 2015. UCM also is planning, in cooperation with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, to relocate The Missouri Innovation Campus and UCM – Lee’s Summit into leased space made possible by a partnership with the school district. Lee’s Summit voters approved a no-tax-increase bond issue in April 2015 to make the facility possible. Work on this project is expected to be completed by 2017.