MU's campus will look very different by 2023.
MU’s Strategic Space Reduction and Relocation Plan aims to reduce deficient campus building space and maximize investment in other key buildings and facilities. The plan will result in 750,000 square feet of building space being either demolished or divested from the university.
Under the plan, several construction projects on campus are being carried out in the coming year, including the demolition of the School of Journalism’s Neff Annex, according to Gerald Morgan, MU director of space planning and management, who spoke to the MU Faculty Council for University Policy on Thursday.
Several buildings and services on campus will also be moved in the coming year. The ground floor of Ellis Library, recently vacated by the State Historical Society of Missouri when it moved to its new building on Elm Street, will be the new home to a “Student Experience Center.”
This location will incorporate both the services of the Student Success Center, previously housed at Lowry Mall, and a “core group of student services spaces,” according to the plan. That Lowry Mall building would be occupied by two MU museums.
The ambitious five-year plan is borne out of a necessity to work within MU’s current annual operations budget. The current value of all necessary maintenance and renovations for MU sits at about $808 million, according to the plan’s website — far more than the university is able to handle with a $15.7 million operations budget for fiscal year 2019. That doesn’t take into account an additional yearly $35 million in deferred maintenance.
Morgan says that the amount of deferred maintenance has forced MU to perform “reactive maintenance” rather than “preventative maintenance” in recent years.
The university is moving through the plan in a number of phases. There are currently four, but this is subject to change, according to Morgan.
Phase 1, which is currently ongoing, has seen the demolition of the Fine Arts Annex and Research Park Development Building (a combined 26,060 square feet). Ownership of the Allton and A.P. Green buildings has been transferred to MU Health Care.
The remainder of the first stage will involve the phasing out and eventual divestment of Mizzou North, a building on Business Loop 70 that is currently home to two museums and about 180 employees, according to Morgan. This phase will also involve the rolling transfer of services and offices to more efficient spaces.
The buildings planned for demolition under the space reduction plan are determined by the Facility Conditions Needs Index, which evaluates how much of a building’s space is used efficiently. Forty-nine of MU’s buildings have a FCNI over .40 — meaning that 40% of the building’s space is inefficient.
Buildings that are far from the main campus or that would be difficult to fully renovate will also be considered, according to the plan.
Future phases of the plan will involve the demolition of several educational and general buildings on campus, including the old Student Health building, the Columbia Professional Building and Loeb, Parker, Noyes and London Halls.
The university is actively seeking new buildings and spaces for the programs and services currently housed in these buildings. The Counseling Center, housed in Parker Hall, currently does not have a planned relocation, according to Morgan’s Faculty Council presentation.