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University of Missouri 5-year capital plan includes millions of dollars for new construction and research


The University of Missouri Board of Curators on Thursday approved a $321 million capital plan for the Columbia campus.

That plan consists of six projects, including $160 million toward the construction of a Center for Energy Innovation.

Meeting notes show the purpose of the Center for Energy Innovation will be to provide sustainable energy solutions and strengthen the domestic energy supply. MU Spokesperson Christian Basi said research will also include nuclear energy, nuclear-engineered materials, energy storage and grid security. It will bring together researchers in engineering, agronomy, physics, chemistry and public policy.

"This is a demonstration of how the University of Missouri continues to look for innovative ways to bring researchers together from disciplines to tackle the challenges fo the future," Basi said in an email.

The Center for Energy Innovation will be around 180,000 gross square feet of laboratory research space, located North of Lafferre Hall on Sixth Street. Basi said the center is expected to open in 2027.

MU will spend $80 million on this project internally, while $50 million comes from a gift and $30 million from the state. The University hired an architect/engineering firm in April 2023.

The agenda states there is some uncertainty in available internal funding, so full project approval for the Center for Energy Innovation will likely be sought in 2025.

Another project included in the capital plan is an expansion at the MU Research Reactor. The $34 million expansion project was approved as part of Thursday's meeting.

The expansion will add an 8,000-square-foot addition to the west side of the reactor building. Most of this will be funded through a contract with an unnamed pharmaceutical company. An architect/engineering firm was hired in February.

Chief Financial Officer Ryan Rapp presented the financial plan at Thursday's meeting.

"What we're looking to do here is quickly add some new hot cell lines to continue to ramp up production within the facility," Rapp said.

Other projects included in the capital plan are the construction of NextGen MURR Phase One, which consists of a new, larger research reactor that will expand the university's cancer-fighting research and medical isotope production. This project will cost $36 million, with $20 million coming from federal funds and $10 million from state funds.

New construction of a Radioisotope Facility at Discovery Ridge will consist of a 33,000-square-foot radioisotope processing facility. It will house research spaces, labs, storage space, conference rooms, classrooms and office space for MURR and the Department of Energy. This $39 million project is estimated to get $20 million in federal funding and $19 million in state funds.

An electrical interconnection and substation will relocate the electrical substation located on Monk and Hospital to a new location on Virginia Avenue. It will have new electrical equipment, and the agenda states it will ensure MU has enough power supply and additional capacity during peak energy consumption. This $42 million project will be paid for by $20 million in state funds and $22 million in internal funds.

Lastly, the decommissioning of Pickard Hall will cost the university $10 million in internal funds. The building is idle due to radium contamination, and the meeting notes states the only way the site can be used is to remove the building and prepare the site for a future facility.

As part of the capital plan, the board also voted to approve a $291.4 million Strategic Projects Development Plan. These are projects that the board would like to move forward with, but still need more work in figuring out finances.

The strategic plan includes $250 million for Memorial Stadium Improvements.

The strategic plan also includes an Animal Resource Center facility expansion, fitting out the final 10,000 square feet of space in the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health building, a new swine research facility and exterior repairs to Jesse Hall.

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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