MU Thompson Center upgrades to larger facility

Thursday, September 16, 2010 | 7:11 p.m. CDT; updated 10:11 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 16, 2010

COLUMBIA – The MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders is moving to a new, larger location.

The center plans to relocate Sept. 23, and Sept. 24 to 205 Portland St. Clinic services will not be available on those days.

MU has been renting space in the building it currently shares with Paternity Testing Corporation at 300 Portland St. Researchers for the Thompson Center also work across the street in the South Pavilion.

MU purchased the new building with a state appropriation of $5 million, and a federal appropriation of $742,500 funded construction costs. The building covers 26,000 square feet, about 10,000 square feet more than the center's current location, allowing all faculty and staff to work in one place.

Jim Poehling, executive director of the Thompson Center, said in a news release that the new facility is designed to be family friendly and conducive to collaboration among faculty members.

Cheryl Unterschutz, senior information specialist, detailed the new building's amenities.

“There will be a family resource room right next to the cafe area with computers available for families to use," she said. "Books and toys can also be checked out from the room.”

The new location will also feature technology such as telehealth units, which are televisions with software that allow doctors to remotely see and speak to patients and parents.

“We will have state of the art audio and video equipment to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patients,” said Steven Kanne, associate director of the Thompson Center, in an e-mail. “Telehealth allows us to expand our ability to reach outlying areas without having to be there physically.”

The new building will have more rooms, including two more examination rooms and five more therapy rooms.

The center plans to reopen on Sept. 27. The public is welcome to tour the new facility during its grand opening celebration on Dec. 3.

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