The University of Missouri System Board of Curators on Friday placed the final stamp of approval on the Student Center Project, more commonly known as the Brady Commons expansion.
Groundbreaking and construction are expected to begin in September, said Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs. Brady Commons was built in 1963, when MU had an enrollment of about 16,000 students. According to the architect, Mackey Mitchell Associates, the new center will have nearly twice the capacity of the current center, with 236,000 square feet compared to the current 125,000 square feet. The expected cost of the project is about $58.7 million.
“When you build a student center, it sends a message to the students that we value them,” Scroggs said. “We’ve seen that in the rec center.”
The beginning stages of planning began in 2003, Scroggs said. The idea was presented to the Board of Curators in November 2004. In April 2005, a referendum was passed by MU students approving a student fee not to exceed $35 to start being collected in 2010, the expected year of completion for the project. Architect approval came in May 2005, after which planning for the schematic designs could begin.
According to the architects, the construction will be done in two phases, a process that will not require the current space to close. The first phase is expected to start in September on the southernmost portion of the Brady parking lot, at Rollins Road and Hitt Street. This is expected to be completed in July 2008. Moving to the new space will take one month, then construction on the second phase can begin at the current Brady Commons building.
Three other MU construction projects seeking approval were also presented to the curators. A schematic design was approved for Schweitzer Hall, where a new addition will add more lab and office space as well as a connecting bridge to Schlundt Hall. Architect approval was granted for the renovation of Laferre Hall, formerly Engineering Building East, and for the renovation of McDavid residence hall.
The board also passed a resolution, proposed by curator Doug Russell of Lebanon, that formally addressed Gov. Matt Blunt’s involvement with the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, or MOHELA.
The resolution reads: “The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri appreciates Governor Matt Blunt’s Lewis & Clark Discovery Initiative, which would explore creating a public-private partnership that will reap the maximum value from the sale of MOHELA and invest the proceeds to the benefit of Missouri higher education.”
The sale is expected to bring in about $400 million, of which MU would receive about $92.5 million to fund an $87.5 million Health Sciences Research Center and other construction projects.
Tuition increases were presented to the board in an effort to keep up with the rising costs of operation and to keep teaching salaries competitive, UM spokesman Joe Moore said. According to documents from the meeting, the proposed 6-percent increase would result in resident students paying $364 more per year and nonresidents paying $910 more per year, based on two 14-hour semesters. Other efforts to control costs were also discussed by the curators, including the current effort to reduce administrative costs by 10 percent.
The curators were also presented with a proposal to increase student fees. For undergraduates enrolled for 12 hours, a 6-percent increase was suggested, raising the current fees $17.72. For graduate students enrolled for 12 hours, a 6.2 percent increase was suggested, raising the current fees $18.39.
The curators will not vote on the proposed increases until their March meeting.