Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Groundbreaking held for Nixon Hall at Missouri Southern

(From Gov. Jay Nixon)

Missouri Southern State University in Joplin today honored Gov. Jay Nixon with a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building that will bear his name. Nixon Hall, scheduled to be completed in time for classes in the fall of 2018, will feature classrooms and offices that will be used primarily for STEM-field programs (science, technology, engineering and math).

“I deeply appreciate this tremendous honor. Missouri Southern State University is a strong anchor of academic excellence for this region and a source of strength for a community that has inspired me, and the world,” Gov. Nixon said. “This project is a shining example of our state’s commitment to preparing students for success in a rapidly changing global economy, and I want to thank Dr. Alan Marble, Senator Ron Richard and the many dedicated public servants on both sides of the aisle who worked together to make this investment possible.”

“This is an exciting event for us,” said Dr. Alan Marble, president of Missouri Southern State University. “It’s not only about continuing our growth on campus, but it’s a chance to honor the governor for his support for higher education, and STEM fields in particular, as well as his commitment to this university.”

This past June, Gov. Nixon signed House Bills 2017 and 2018, bipartisan legislation which provide $792 million to continue essential renovations across the state as well funding for the Governor’s $200 million Building Affordability Initiative to address deferred maintenance projects at colleges and universities across the state.

Included in this legislation is $16,099,503 to fund significant renovations at Reynolds Hall on the campus of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Reynolds Hall, constructed in 1967, houses the biology, environmental health, physical science and mathematics programs for the university. The renovations include new laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment and expanded academic space.

The new Nixon Hall will be located on the south side of Reynolds Hall, connected via a skywalk off of Reynolds Hall’s second floor.

Gov. Nixon has made higher education quality and affordability a priority of his administration. In 2010, Gov. Nixon convened a Higher Education Summit and called on higher education leaders to adopt an agenda focused on four key areas: affordability and attainment; quality and effectiveness; collaboration; and performance funding. Over the last five years, significant progress has been achieved in all of them.

Answering the Governor’s call to make higher education more efficient and effective, higher education institutions voluntarily eliminated 118 non-productive degrees and redesigned several large undergraduate courses to make them more efficient and effective.

This year also marks the fourth tuition freeze Gov. Nixon has secured since taking office in 2009. According to the most recent data available from the College Board, tuition and required fees at Missouri’s public universities increased by just nine percent between the 2008-09 and 2015-2016 academic years, the smallest increase in the nation. By comparison, the average increase nationally over the same period was 33.5 percent.

In addition, the Governor has worked with Missouri’s community colleges to increase training opportunities for Missourians through initiatives like Training for Tomorrow, MoManufacturingWINS, and MoHealthWINS. These and other training initiatives leveraged more than $100 million to prepare thousands of Missourians for high-paying jobs in areas like health care and advanced manufacturing.

Gov. Nixon’s Innovation Campus initiative has been nationally recognized for creating partnerships to offer accelerated, high-impact degrees at a reduced cost. The goal of the Innovation Campus program is to train students for career opportunities in high-demand fields while cutting the time it takes to earn a college degree and reducing student debt.

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