Media highlights 4 new UMSL buildings, Natural Bridge improvements

Future Recreation and Wellness Center at UMSL

UMSL broke ground on the new Recreation and Wellness Center in December. It’s on schedule to be completed in the fall of 2015.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis broke ground on two new building projects this fall and plans for another pair are under way. UMSL has also played a key role in efforts to revitalize Natural Bridge Road near campus in part through a St. Louis Great Streets Initiative grant. The improvements to and near the university were highlighted last week in a pair of St. Louis Business Journal articles.

Students passed a fee referendum to fund a $36 million Recreation and Wellness Center that broke ground in December. The 99,000-square-foot facility will feature a three-court gym, three-lane running track, four group fitness rooms, a fitness/recreation pool, juice bar and climbing wall. It’s on schedule to be completed in the fall of 2015.

Construction also began in December on a new Science Learning Building, a 75,000-square-foot structure that will feature advanced laboratories and a solarium/town center that will serve as a crossroad in the science complex. The faculty and University of Missouri System Board of Curators approved a bond option for $32 million for the project due to be complete in the fall of 2015.

“It’s been recommended for state funding for over a decade and never received any,” Bob Samples, associate vice chancellor for University of Marketing and Communications at UMSL, told the Business Journal. “The campus decided to address this ourselves.”

Other planned projects include:

Optometry Patient Care Center: The $17 million project and first phase of a proposed complex housing the colleges of Optometry and Nursing will be funded with facilities reserves and UM bonds (annual debt service to be paid for by optometry reallocations and student-approved fees). The 48,000-square-foot building will feature 13,000 square feet of leasable shell space. It’s scheduled to break ground in fall 2014 and wrap construction after two years.

Business Administration Building: A 2014 groundbreaking is planned for the 46,000 square foot facility that will serve as the new home for the College of Business Administration, which is currently house in five different buildings. The new building will feature classroom and unique learning spaces, social spaces, a trading room and faculty offices. The university is seeking $10 million in matching state funds and has $10 million in private gifts in the bank with another $8 million in deferred commitments.

The Business Journal also reported that the Missouri Department of Transportation would begin its revitalization of a three-mile Natural Bridge Road stretch (between Hanley and Lucas and Hunt roads) on June 2. The $14 million project includes a $1 million grant from the St. Louis Great Streets Initiative. The project will include the conversion of the four-lane road to two lanes and feature numerous enhancements including a raised tree-lined median, bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways. Betty Van Uum, assistant to the provost for public affairs and economic development at UMSL, told the Business Journal the university is working to attract new businesses to the area, including the redeveloped strip of Natural Bridge.

Visit the St. Louis Business Journal website to read the full article about UMSL’s new buildings and the Natural Bridge revitalization efforts.


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