“Building Affordability” will improve higher education facilities and help maintain Missouri’s status as a national leader in holding down tuition hikes
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Southeast Missouri State University to announce more than $10 million in improvements and renovations 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 Southeast Missouri State University, these improvements will include renovations at the Grauel Building, Crisp Hall and Brandt Hall, as well as general repairs throughout campus.
At the Grauel Building, work will be done to address deferred maintenance, replace windows with more energy efficient panes, provide needed renovations to the building and accommodate growing academic programs. Additionally, the renovations at the Speech and Hearing Clinic housed within the Grauel Building will allow the University to expand services to more clients, including more children with autism. The $4 million in renovations at the Grauel Building are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
At Crisp Hall, which houses the Departments of Nursing and Social Work, classrooms will be renovated to accommodate modern technology while maintaining the building’s historical significance. Additionally, the antiquated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems within Crisp Hall will be replaced. The $2 million in renovations at Crisp Hall are expected to be completed by August 2016.
At Brandt Hall, which houses classrooms used by all academic departments including the Air Force ROTC and Missouri National Guard programs, renovations include replacing the roof and windows to improve energy efficiency, and modernizing classroom technology. The $3 million in renovations at Brandt Hall are expected to be completed by August 2017.
Additionally, $1,082,458 in various renovations and repairs at academic buildings across the main campus are expected to be completed by December 2017.
“Here at Southeast Missouri State, we’re committed to providing students with an excellent, affordable education that prepares them to start a good career in the field of their choice,” said Southeast Missouri State University President Carlos Vargas. “We appreciate the leadership of Gov. Nixon and the General Assembly for making this significant investment Southeast Missouri State University that will pay dividends for decades to come.”
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.