Student Success Center expanding into vacant McDonald's on Lowry Mall

Sunday, September 18, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 2:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — Expansion of MU's Student Success Center on Lowry Mall is likely to be finished by December.

The center will begin renovating the former McDonald's this fall, said Karlan Seville, communications manager for Campus Facilities.

The dining room will be renovated to increase the center's space for one-on-one and group tutoring.

The former kitchen will be sectioned off and repurposed for University Catering.

Refurbishing the space includes removing the short divider walls and tables, taking up floor tile and replacing it with new carpet, painting and installing new lighting, Seville said.

The ceiling tiles are being removed because of grease buildup and will be replaced with a new ceiling, said Jim Spain, director of the Student Success Center and vice provost for undergraduate studies.

MU Campus Facilities is still working on an estimate for the cost of the renovations, Seville said.

Spain said the expansion is needed because the number of students enrolled at MU keeps going up.

“Because of the growth of enrollment, our learning center now serves obviously a much larger number of students,” Spain said. “Yet the space that we serve them in hasn’t changed since we moved into the building."

The center has been on Lowry Mall for 10 years, since its establishment in the fall of 2001.

Student tutors have noticed the overcrowding.

“Usually it’s really crowded in the science spot,” said Chayla Hisel, a biology and chemistry tutor. “A lot of people use the computers and tables, so we get crowded back here near the whiteboards."

More than 8,000 students will use MU's tutoring services sometime during this year, Spain said. Tutoring, writing assistance, mock interviews and academic advising are some of the services that programs located in the Student Success Center provide.

“We work with some students that need a learning environment with less distractions,” Spain said. "Now, because we are able to move our staff out of the tutor rooms into offices, those tutor rooms are now going to become available so that we can better meet the needs of those individuals."

The McDonald's on Lowry Mall closed last spring after the franchise owners decided not to renew its lease with MU. It started serving customers in 1978 and had been on campus for more than 30 years.

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fhhdg hfgybdh September 19, 2011 | 10:23 a.m.
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