Board of Public Buildings votes to move forward with $38.5 million bonds for the renovation of Lafferre Hall at the University of Missouri-Columbia
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today voted as a member of the Board of Public Buildings to begin the process of issuing $38.5 million in bonds to finance the renovation of Lafferre Hall at the University of Missouri-Columbia’s College of Engineering. In addition to making needed repairs to outdated and deteriorating portions of the facility, the project will also provide additional state-of-the-art classroom and lab space to keep up with enrollment growth and prepare more Missourians for high-paying jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“Today, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require some training in math or science,” Gov. Nixon said. “We can’t prepare our students for the jobs of the next century in facilities designed in the last century. That’s why this project is so important not only to enhance the educational experience of students here at MU, but also to strengthen our state’s ability to compete and create jobs in the global economy.”
The project will repair and renovate portions of Lafferre Hall built in 1935 and 1944 respectively. In addition to repairing masonry and replacing windows and roofs, the area will be renovated to include experiential teaching and learning labs along with space for computer labs and a student machine shop.
“We are extremely grateful to the governor and the state legislature for supporting the bonding and capital improvement bills that enable us to begin this capital project and invest in our faculty and students, who are the future of Missouri,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said. “The renovations made possible with these bonds will provide our students access to state-of-the-art engineering facilities and enhance our researchers’ capabilities to conduct groundbreaking research, leading to innovation and economic growth for the state.”
Currently, classroom and lab space at the college is limited. The renovations will produce an additional 20,000 square feet for research space for engineering disciplines including Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty. The University of Missouri estimates the project will provide space for 3,300 students and eliminate more than $15 million in deferred maintenance.
Senate Bill 723, passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor this year, increased the amount of bonds that may be issued by $200 million, with the proceeds of such bonds to be used for repair or renovation of existing public higher education buildings and facilities. House Bill 2021 appropriated $38.5 million for the planning, design, and construction of strategic renovations and additions to Lafferre Hall.
To allow the project to move forward, the Governor today released $2.5 million in general revenue for payment of debt service on the bonds and $38.5 million in board of public building bond funds for the actual costs of the project.
The University plans to begin renovations early in 2015 with a goal of completing the project in December 2016. The renovated building will be open for classes for the Spring 2017 semester.