Governor and area legislators visit Ellis Hall at Missouri State University, identified by MSU as one of the university’s highest priorities for renovation
springfield, Mo. – During a visit yesterday to Missouri State University, Gov. Jay Nixon said he is committed to working together with legislators during the upcoming legislative session to complete a strategic, fiscally responsible bond issuance that will make long-overdue investments in higher education in Missouri.
The Governor was on the campus to visit the university’s music and fine arts building, Ellis Hall, which university officials have identified as a top priority for renovation as part of $19 million in projects at MSU. He was joined by MSU President Clif Smart and by several southwest Missouri legislators, including state Senators Bob Dixon, David Sater and Jay Wasson, and by state Rep. Lincoln Hough.
“Over the past six years, we’ve worked together in a bi-partisan way to balance the budget and protect our spotless – and enviable – AAA credit rating,” Gov. Nixon said. “Last year, the legislature worked in a bi-partisan way to provide additional bonding capacity, authorizing up to $200 million in projects at community colleges and four-year institutions around the state.
“That expansion was an important first step, but there is more work to be done,” the Governor said. “I’m pleased to announce my commitment to work with the legislature to complete the bond issuance that will pave the way for these long-overdue investments in higher education in our state – and to do so in a strategic and fiscally responsible way that will benefit our students and our economy. Our economy is moving forward. Our AAA credit rating is intact. Interest rates are low. Now is the time to act.”
The $7.6 million in repairs and renovations at Ellis Hall would include making recital halls more accessible to those with disabilities, installing a fire suppression system, and modernizing classrooms and practice areas. Other projects include $9.6 million in renovations at Hill Hall, constructed in 1924 and housing the Department of Psychology and the College of Education.
“Sound investments in higher education require investing in both people and in academic facilities,” MSU President Clif Smart said. “We’ve identified our highest priorities for renovation on both our Springfield and West Plains campuses to provide greater opportunities for students and faculty, and greatly appreciate the Governor and legislators supporting the bonding and capital improvement bills for these capital projects. Those investments will pay off for Missouri State students and for our state for generations to come.”
Both the two- and four-year higher education institutions have submitted project lists for funding, placing priority upon those projects that address the most critical needs of their institution. Many of the projects identified by colleges and universities will improve facilities in the areas of science, math, engineering and technology, referred to as STEM fields.