Hagan Foundation prep dorm moves past Planning and Zoning Commission

Friday, March 22, 2013 | 6:55 p.m. CDT; updated 10:50 a.m. CDT, Saturday, March 23, 2013

*A previous version of this story misstated the size of the tract of land, the location of the lot and the date of demolition.

COLUMBIA — The Hagan Scholarship Foundation's proposed college-preparatory academy on Stephens College grounds was unanimously recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday night.

The proposed redevelopment of the 8.22-acre* tract of land will remove the 2400-seat Stephens Auditorium and Natatorium Complex as well as Hillcrest Hall to make way for two lots. The northern* lot, which is currently occupied by Hillcrest Hall, will be razed to create a living facility for approximately 60 students and 15 staff members, as well as a small 20-space parking lot for staff, administration and visitors. The proposed academy will not allow students to have cars on campus. 

The lot south of Broadway, where the auditorium is currently located, will be used for either an expansion of the academy or for professional office space.

Pending City Council approval, the foundation plans to make the purchase final in late April or May, with demolition of the proposed sites to begin after leases end in June*, according to Mark Farnen, spokesperson for Hagan Scholarship Foundation. 

That would put the academy on track to open for enrollment fall 2015. 

Dan Hagan, grantor of the foundation and Columbia real estate developer, attended four rural public schools, before enrolling at MU. Hagan created the foundation three years ago to allow students of similar rural upbringings to be able to accomplish what he did – attend college debt free. The implementation of the academy is the next logical step for Hagan, whose scholarship recipients are already required to attend two summer-long life-skills workshops related to finances, time management and study strategies before attending the university of their choice.  

The school will be open to students in their junior and senior years of high school, but to get there applicants will first have to go through a rigorous screening process, much like the one currently in place for HSF's college scholarships. Students from any county with a population of less than 50,000 located within a 10-state area will be eligible to apply. During their time at the academy, students will be required to work 250 hours per year, a quantity which may be completed at any point during the year. Hagan also hopes to create a sort of mentorship program, with current HSF scholars from area colleges being invited to live on the academy campus.

The Hagan Scholarship Foundation is not the first group to attempt to purchase the land from Stephens College, but it is the first to do so successfully. In a statement made in December, Stephens College President Dianne Lynch described the rationale behind the decision as being based on the fact that the foundation and Stephens share the same educational mission and values.

The project is next slated to go to the Columbia City Council for approval on April 15. 

Supervising editor is Karen Miller.

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