Mark McDonald, 14, waits shovel in hand for the official groundbreaking to start during the ceremony

Mark McDonald, 14, waits shovel-in-hand for the official groundbreaking to start during the ceremony on Friday in Stotler Lounge. McDonald has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, one of the many conditions and diseases that MU plans to continue researching with its new NextGen Precision Health Institute.

Rain did not stop the Board of Curators from holding the groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the new medical complex. The ceremony was moved indoors to Stotler Lounge where researchers and university officials joined to celebrate plans for the NextGen Precision Health Institute. The initiative received $10 million from the state of Missouri, $50 million from the University of Missouri and is expected to cost $220.8 million to build.

Julia Brncic, member of the MU Board of Curators and chair of the finance committee, puts on her hard hat in preparation to turn soil for the new precision research facility on Friday in Stotler Lounge. The institute will house 60 researchers in more than six fields.

In all of the excitement over the groundbreaking of Precision Medicine’s anchor facility, UM System President Mun Choi misstated the project’s name.

“I’ve been trying to figure out what TNPC means,” Choi said in his closing remarks. “And you got it wrong,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright interrupted.

In addition to breaking ground on the new facility, Choi and Cartwright announced Friday that Translational Precision Medicine Complex, or TPMC, will have a new name: NextGen.

A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the NextGen Precision Health Institute was held

A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the NextGen Precision Health Institute was held on Friday in Stotler Lounge. The central facility will combine research work from all campuses in the University of Missouri system in the planned 265,000 sq. feet across five total floors.

Both the names of the initiative and the complex are changing. The initiative, which was formerly called Precision Health Initiative, is now NextGen Precision Health Initiative, while the building will be called the NextGen Precision Health Institute.

President Choi announced the name changes at Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony and said the new name would be easier to recognize and still represent the innovation which will take place there.

“It is very clear for all of us to recognize that NextGen represents a constant evolution,” Choi said. “We can’t stop making the advances that are going to help with the health care of Missourians and those throughout the world.”

MU System President Mun Choi waits behind the ceremonial hard hats and gold shovels

MU System President Mun Choi waits behind the ceremonial hard hats and gold shovels for other board members and university officials before breaking ground on Friday in Stotler Lounge. “This will help us translate fundamental research from laboratories into effective treatments and devices,” Choi said.

Excitement filled the air of Stotler Lounge on Friday morning as the Board of Curators, representatives from the four UM campuses, university administrators, faculty, staff, students and elected officials took their seats to celebrate the launch of NextGen.

The NextGen Institute has been the UM Board of Curators’ number one priority since November 2017, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Initially, it was not clear where the $220.8 million needed to build the complex would come from.

According to a news release issued by the university on Friday, the funding will come from a combination of private and public contributions, as well as from the support of MU, the UM System and the state of Missouri.

Rain did not stop the board of curators from holding the TPMC groundbreaking ceremony

Rain did not stop the Board of Curators from holding the TPMC groundbreaking ceremony on Friday. The ceremony was moved indoors to Stotler Lounge where researchers and university officials joined to celebrate plans for the NextGen Precision Health Institute. The initiative received $10 million from the state of Missouri, $50 million from the University of Missouri and is expected to cost $220.8 million to build.

In 2018, President Choi announced plans for the system to invest $50 million on the project, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The state legislature will be providing a one-time contribution of $10 million for the 2020 fiscal year, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Sen. Roy Blunt attended the event and expressed his excitement for the future medical breakthroughs made possible through the research institute.

“The kinds of things we want to see happening are happening,” Blunt said. “This is clearly the future of healthcare. And so exciting for the University of Missouri and our state.”

The 252,000 square foot five-story complex will be home to 60 researchers and their teams, according to the project’s website.

Julia Brncic puts on her hard hat in preparation to turn soil for the new precision research facility

Julia Brncic, member of the MU Board of Curators and the chair of the finance committee, puts on her hard hat in preparation to turn soil for the new precision research facility on Friday in Stotler Lounge. The institute will house 60 researchers in more than six fields.

Cartwright said that Friday’s groundbreaking was an important milestone in the system’s commitment to medical research.

“Groundbreakings are an opportunity for us to imagine the future,” Cartwright said. “The way I like to think about it (is) as sort of a commitment, sort of like getting married. We’re in it.”

The institute is scheduled to open Oct. 19, 2021.

Supervising editor is Libby Stanford.

  • Reporter for the Columbia Missourian. I am a senior studying investigative journalism and political science. Reach me at mmhtgb@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720. See more of my work at mollyhart.org

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