UM Board of Curators approves $45 million in new spending

Nathan Zoschke

Schematic of the redeveloped Oak Street Parking Structure from a 2008 parking study report. A design has not yet been decided upon.
Schematic of the redeveloped Oak Street Parking Structure from a 2008 parking study report. A design has not yet been decided upon.

In 2012 and 2013, UMKC will see the fruition of $45 million in new construction and renovations.

The $45 million in bonds is part of a $265 million debt-financing package approved by the University of Missouri Board of Curators, and will finance three separate capital improvement projects at UMKC.

These projects include a new Oak Street Parking Structure, a new addition to the Miller Nichols Library (MNL) and renovations to the University Center.

Vice Chancellor of Facilities Bob Simmons said the projects were chosen by the Facilities Advisory Committee, which consists of faculty, staff and student representatives.

“When the potential of the availability of bonds came forward, the first discussion we had was on our priorities,” Simmons said.

Simmons said UMKC is working to expedite construction to take advantage of economic conditions.

“We have very a favorable bond rating and a construction bidding market because of the economy,” Simmons said. “We want to move quickly.”

Oak Street Parking Structure exterior
Oak Street Parking Structure exterior

$23.1 million Oak Street Parking Structure rebuilding

New Oak Street Parking Structure

The dated Oak Street Parking Structure will be demolished and replaced with a new, $23.1 million garage.

Simmons said the new garage will hold 1,400 spaces, twice the capacity of the current parking structure.

Parking Operations Manager Michelle Cone said the Oak Street Parking Structure, which was built as temporary parking in 1960, has reached its capacity several times this semester.

“One of our gauges has been the Oak Street Parking Structure,” Cone said, “and when it gets full, we know there’s a problem.”

This semester, nearly 500 more parking permits were issued than last fall, and demand is expected to grow as enrollment increases.

The current Oak Street structure, which Simmons said is 20 years past its useful life, also lacks elevators and other handicap accessibility features.

The new garage will include elevators, electric car charging stations, a pedestrian walkway to the Performing Arts Center and bicycle storage.

“We’re looking for more sustainable-type solutions that will help us meet the demands for parking,” Simmons said, “but we still needed to address the demand that we have right now and the forecast for continued growth on the campus.”

The demolition is expected to begin in May after commencement, followed by a year of construction. The new garage is expected to open for the Fall 2012 semester.

Cone said Parking Operations has taken several measures to alleviate congested parking during construction, which includes offering reduced-rate permits exclusive to the Hospital Hill campus.

If students at Hospital Hill use the shuttle that runs between the two campuses, Cone said, congestion at Volker may be alleviated.

Because Parking Operations at UMKC is independent and does not receive funding from the state or student tuition, bonds must be paid for through fines and parking permits.

University Center at night
University Center at night

$4.1 million University Center renovations

Student Success Center

The University Center will undergo $4.1 million in renovations to accommodate the creation of the Student Success Center.

Simmons said the project was identified by a task force co-chaired by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Mel Tyler and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Cindy Pemberton.

“They looked at different projects for student success centers around the country and defined elements related to UMKC,” Simmons said.

The Center for Academic Development, which is currently located in the Student Academic Support Services (SASS) Building, located just north of MNL, and the Writing Center, located at 5201 Rockhill Rd. across from the Quad, will be relocated to the University Center.

The new Student Success Center will also include an advising service for students with undeclared majors.

“It’s part of the strategic plan to place students at the center,” Simmons said. “The Student Success Center pulls together a lot of the advising and academic support that students need to continue their academic careers.”

One other possibility is the demolition of the SASS building and relocation of the programs within to the University Center.

“Although the extent of the Center for Academic Development areas that will relocate to the Student Success Center is still to be determined, there is a strong possibility the SASS Building where they are currently housed will become vacant and would be demolished,” Simmons said. “This would be consistent with the long term Master Plan development around the Miller Nichols Library and Fine Arts Building.”

Simmons said construction on the Student Success Center will begin in about nine months and is expected to reach completion in either fall 2012 or spring 2013.

Model of the Miller Nichols Library expansion
Model of the Miller Nichols Library expansion

$17.8 million Miller Nichols Library classroom addition

Miller Nichols addition

Miller Nichols Library will undergo a second phase of new construction at the cost of $17.8 million.

Simmons said the addition will be built west of the existing library in the direction of the University Playhouse.

The MNL addition will include 900 new seats in classrooms and lecture hall spaces.

The lecture halls would contain between 150 and 300 seats each, Simmons said.

The addition will also include a new entrance from the west side of the building, which Dean of Libraries Sharon Bostick said will improve access to the Quad.

Bostick also said the addition will add new elevators and library space to the building.

The recent addition of the book retrieval robot removed the southern entrance from the building, making it less accessible to students.

Patrons must enter the library from the northern entrance, located farthest from the quad.

“Frankly, [the new entrance] is the most important part for us,” Bostick said.

Simmons said the project will help accommodate new students at UMKC.

“[The Miller Nichols expansion] has been, for the past several years, our number-one priority for capital funding from the state,” Simmons said. “It’s a key project in terms of our ability to continue to grow enrollment because it will give us the ability to create larger lecture hall classrooms.”

Simmons estimates construction will begin in about nine months and reach completion in summer 2013.

According to Simmons, bonds for the Student Success Center and Miller Nichols expansion will be paid off using additional revenue generated by growth in enrollment.

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