SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Missouri State University to announce $18,925,377 in improvements and renovations at the university campuses in Springfield and West Plains. The projects are being made possible through Building Affordability, an initiative proposed by the Governor in collaboration with public colleges and universities and passed with bi-partisan support in the General Assembly this year.
“Through our Building Affordability initiative, we’re making targeted investments in higher education to increase the quality of our campuses while holding the line of tuition hikes,” said Gov. Nixon. “Keeping Missouri a leader in college affordability will ensure our students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed without mountains of debt.”
At Missouri State University, these improvements will include renovations at Ellis and Hill halls at Springfield, conversion of the old Post Office building in West Plains into an academic building that will house a new state-of-the-art computer lab and modern classrooms, and various system upgrades at buildings throughout both campuses.
“These projects will ensure that Missouri State University can continue to offer a world class education for every student that enters our campus,” Missouri State University President Clif Smart said. “We applaud Gov. Nixon for leading the effort to make substantial investments in our university, and we appreciate the Missouri General Assembly for working together in a bipartisan fashion to move this project forward.”
Building Affordability is a component of Build Missouri, a capital improvements initiative that will fund nearly 500 projects in every corner of the state through bond proceeds and other sources. Build Missouri includes bond proceeds for repairs and renovations at state facilities, veterans homes, state parks and higher education campuses, and for the completion of a new state-of-the-art mental hospital in Fulton, as well as non-bonding sources for other projects, including conservation areas, Highway Patrol facilities, and other facilities.
Through Building Affordability, Missouri is investing $200 million in higher education campuses throughout the state. These additional investments by the state will help colleges and universities make needed renovations and improvements to their campuses without raising tuition to cover the costs of these projects.
Over the past six years, the Governor’s administration has paid down hundreds of millions of dollars in state debt. Based on current projections, after the implementation of Build Missouri, state government will still have lower levels of state-issued bonding debt than when the Governor first took office.
Last week, as a result of a strong record of fiscally responsible budget management, Missouri’s AAA credit rating was reaffirmed by the rating agencies. This allows the state to benefit from low interest rates, and makes long-term capital investments more affordable.