Missouri State University in midst of construction boom



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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri State University is in the midst of a $123 million construction boom on its Springfield campus, with projects including the expansion of the College of Business and construction of the school's first tornado "safe room."

Many of the smaller projects are expected to be completed when fall classes start Aug. 22, but some larger projects will continue during the school year and others haven't yet broken ground, The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://sgfnow.co/2aQ7z8Y ).

The $1.6 million "safe room," funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be the first tornado shelter of its kind on campus. Doug Sampson, university architect and director of planning, design and construction, said some areas on campus are designated for people to take shelter but this will be the only one shelter built to withstand a tornado. When it is completed by the end of the year, it will be large enough to accommodate 1,200 people.

The smaller projects include improving fire suppression, renovating elevators and bathrooms, and improving accessibility. The largest project is the expansion and renovation of Glass Hall, home to the College of Business. The Glass Hall project, expected to be completed in a year, will add 40,000 square feet to the existing 170,000-square-foot building.

Sampson said many faculty and staff working in the existing hall were relocated during construction.

"We look to move everyone in Aug. 15," he said. "We have been working from the top down."

The university also is preparing to renovate Ellis Hall, the home of the Department of Music. Construction is scheduled to start this month and take a year.

In October, the university plans to break ground on a new 36,000-square-foot Taylor Health and Wellness Center. It will include a pharmacy, lab and women's clinic plus existing health and wellness services when it is completed in 2017.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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The Associated Press

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