Nixon touts program to improve college campuses

By+BRANDON+BOWMAN%2FPHOTO+EDITOR%0A%28From+left%29+Gov.+Nixon+and+President+Chuck+Ambrose+speak+with+freshman+Jesse+Lynch%2C+conservation+enforcement+major%2C+Tuesday+about+why+he+chose+to+attend+UCM.

By BRANDON BOWMAN/PHOTO EDITOR (From left) Gov. Nixon and President Chuck Ambrose speak with freshman Jesse Lynch, conservation enforcement major, Tuesday about why he chose to attend UCM.

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By BRANDON BOWMAN/PHOTO EDITOR (From left) Gov. Nixon and President Chuck Ambrose speak with freshman Jesse Lynch, conservation enforcement major, Tuesday about why he chose to attend UCM.
By BRANDON BOWMAN/PHOTO EDITOR
(From left) Gov. Nixon and President Chuck Ambrose speak with freshman Jesse Lynch, conservation enforcement major, Tuesday about why he chose to attend UCM.

By STEVEN SPEARS
News Editor
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The W.C. Morris Science Building was filled with Missouri legislators and university leaders Tuesday as Gov. Jay Nixon visited campus.
Nixon was on campus to announce a more than $12 million bond as part of his Building Affordability initiative, which was passed in the General Assembly this year.
“Last year, I proposed a significant package of forward-looking investments for college campuses across the state, including right here at UCM,” Nixon said. “This year the General Assembly answered that call, passing a bipartisan, fiscally responsible bond issue that will allow these projects to get underway.”
Nixon said the money from the bond will go toward renovating W.C. Morris. He said upgrades will be made to laboratories and classrooms used for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses.
“Over the years, the lab space at W.C. Morris has fallen short of needs, fewer and fewer spots have been made available to students pursuing these STEM fields,” Nixon said. “That is what makes this investment so worthwhile. Improving facilities, updating equipment, and expanding opportunities to more students is exactly the kind of impact we want to make in our Building Affordability initiative.”
Alice Greife, dean of the UCM College of Health, Science and Technology, said the bond will allow the university to focus on improving facilities and be more competitive when recruiting students.
“We’ve had to take many classrooms and laboratories offline because they’re not safe to put students in – and the safety of our students in our classrooms and laboratories is a primary concern for us,” Greife said. “This money will allow us to bring more classrooms and laboratories online and be able to build them or refurbish them for classrooms of the future – to allow us to educate the students to meet the demands of the employers and careers of today.”
State Rep. Denny Hoskins, of Warrensburg, said the bond will affect the local community as well as the university.
“It’s exciting for the community,” Hoskins said. “Anytime that we’re able to update science buildings – and any building here at UCM – it makes UCM even more attractable to students, makes it attractable for faculty – to continue to bring in top-notch faculty. So it’s definitely a boon for not only UCM but for the local economy.”
Nixon toured W.C. Morris accompanied by local legislators, President Chuck Ambrose, the provost, college deans, W.C. Morris faculty and students. He visited classrooms and laboratories to speak to students affected by the upcoming improvements.
Faculty and students who met with Nixon, emphasized the importance of technology in the classroom. Nixon said the $12 million bond will assist the College of Health, Science and Technology in bringing its facilities into the modern age.
“We cannot train students for the jobs of the future in the classrooms of the past,” Nixon said. “You can’t go from a 1960s lab into a 2020 job. It just won’t work.”