In May 2015, the Missouri legislature approved a bonding package that opened up millions of dollars for repairs and maintenance on state buildings.
This included facilities used for higher education.
That state funding — combined with generous support from private donors and university reserves — allowed us to plan for upgrades.
In West Plains, they could now renovate and add on to a building that would be used for student services.
The regular presence of construction cranes, fences and heavy equipment is great news: We’re growing. And as these projects wrap up, we are planning for more improvements on the horizon.
If we can create a campus that is second-to-none — which is our goal — we will give students and educators the spaces they need for learning, teaching and research.
We can better represent the tools and technology of today’s workplace.
We can be a better resource for the community.
We will be in a great position to recruit the best and brightest students and faculty.
Open for business: Glass Hall
Unprecedented growth: It’s a great problem to have!
The original facility that housed the MSU College of Business was constructed three decades ago. In the last 30 years alone, enrollment in the college has grown nearly 70 percent. The addition and renovation of these facilities allow the college to better serve its current student population with high-impact educational opportunities, while also providing space to grow.
What Glass Hall is like now
The David D. Glass Hall renovation includes:
- Specialized classrooms
- Advanced technology
- Group collaboration spaces
- BKD, LLP and BKD Wealth Advisors Trading Lab, simulating real-world trading experience
- Tim Foote and Mike Oldham Families Peak Performance Sales Lab
- Jack E. Weimer and Family Graduate Programs Office
- Ollis Family Study Away Office
- McDonald Student Entrepreneurship Lab
- Joe F. Carroll Family Technology Center
- Central Bank/Central Trust Café
The Robert Gourley Student Success Center addition includes:
- O’Reilly Auto Parts Grand Atrium
- Sunderland Foundation Center for Academic and Professional Success, housing the Business Advisement Center and MSU Career Center satellite office
- Corporate interview rooms
- Marlin Think Tank for Creative Thinking in Business
- 100-seat American National Insurance Auditorium
- 50-seat Kevin and Marla Elliot Family Executive Classroom
- 50-seat Bill and Heather Perry Executive Classroom
- 32-seat executive boardroom
- 100-seat Jim and Pat Jones Reception and Meeting Room
- Trevor J. Crist Entrepreneurial Terrace
- Tim Foote Family Outdoor Terrace
- Jim Wilson Student Collaboration Zone
Music to our ears: Ellis Hall is renovated
Ellis Hall is the home of the music department. The facility was built in 1959, and had few upgrades since.
A project summary in 2015 listed concerns about the building, including unstable climate control (bad for instruments!), deteriorating surfaces, substandard lighting and ventilation, poor acoustics, outdated technology infrastructure and areas not appropriate for handicap accessibility.
Major renovation started in summer 2016, and Ellis was closed for the 2016-17 school year. Equipment, classes and offices were relocated to a shopping center on Glenstone Avenue, and a Bear Line shuttle took students between that center and campus.
What Ellis is like now
When Ellis reopened in fall 2017, it was a modern building with airy, bright public areas, sound-proofed practice rooms and refurbished teaching studios and offices. There are also changes you can’t see, including improved accessibility, modern technology, better energy efficiency, an updated fire-safety system and more.
Recital hall is named
Sam Hamra, chairman of Hamra Enterprises, and his wife, June, made a significant gift to the Missouri State Foundation for renovations and the purchase of a Steinway grand piano. The piano is in a room now named the June S. Hamra Recital Hall. June Hamra was a member of the MSU Board of Regents from 1979-85 and is active in the arts community.
Next: All-Steinway status
The music department is moving toward all-Steinway status in the next few years. This means that all pianos we own will be designed by Steinway & Sons, the gold standard in these instruments. Music students’ lesson fees have led to the purchase of more than 10 Steinways.
Hear a Steinway piano performance by Dr. Minju Choi.
In addition, “we have a new Steinway 9-foot in the recital hall and a new Steinway 7-foot in Hamra Hall,” said Dr. Julie Combs, head of the music department. “Becoming an all-Steinway school is a mark of quality, distinction and value for our students.”
Alumna Rosemond Clapp, ’56, and her husband, Al, have made provisions in their estate plan to benefit the Steinway project, and Rosemond is also on the steering committee.
Diagnosis: New medical home needed
The former health and wellness center, the medical home for students and employees, was completed about 1971.
A few years ago, a study showed the center was running at about 97 percent occupancy every day. It was on a fast track to outgrow its facility. In October 2015, students voted for a fee to pay for more space and additional services. In October 2016, medical services were relocated to the Monroe Apartments on campus as construction started.
The new health and wellness center, more than double the size of the former, will open in spring semester 2018 on the site of the former center.
Hass-Darr helps West Plains campus expand
This building used to be the West Plains Post Office. When the lease came to an end, the post office was moved to a new location. Missouri State University-West Plains officials wanted to renovate and expand the building to create space to enhance student learning and academic success. When state bonding funds and private donations allowed the project to happen, Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett said the new facility was “a dream 20 years in the making.”
A groundbreaking was held March 31, and renovations are expected to be complete in spring semester 2018. The addition has about doubled the size of the former building.
What is in Hass-Darr Hall
- The Carol Silvey Student Union
- The Drago College Store
- Admissions welcome center
- Tutoring services
- Veterans center
- The William and Virginia Darr Honors Program
- Classroom and administrative office spaces
Private gifts support hall
The facility is named Hass-Darr Hall thanks to significant gifts for the project from two families who are longtime university supporters.
- Mary Hass Sheid, West Plains; Judge William R. and Jeanne Hass, Springfield; Judge William T. Hass, Thayer; Tim and Missy Hass Myers, Bentonville, Arkansas
- William and Virginia Darr, Springfield
Work has started on historic Hill Hall
Hill is one of the three original buildings on campus. It is the home of the College of Education and the department of psychology. It was designed with input from former University President Dr. Clyde Milton Hill, and became a model for similar classroom buildings across the country.
When Hill was built, it had a gymnasium (where the Bears played basketball until 1940) and a swimming pool. The building has had upgrades through the years, but is in need of a major overhaul.
A project summary in 2015 said “offices and classrooms have been created from every usable space over many years and are limited in function to meet (today’s) expected learning environment.” It also listed many instances of wear and tear. Those included obsolete electrical and technological equipment, ineffective temperature controls and deteriorating piping. The building’s layout also made it hard to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What upgrades will do
The renovations will bring Hill up to modern standards, but are expected to keep some of the building’s historic look and feel. All areas used by students and faculty will be improved in function and appearance. There will be learning spaces that foster group discussion and other places for collaborative work. The psychology department will also have a more centralized location.