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MU reveals top priority projects in five-year capital plan, hopes to build new journalism building

MU reveals top priority projects in...

The UM Board of Curators approved the Translational Precision Medicine Complex (TPMC) as the top priority capital project for both the University of Missouri and the UM System at their meeting Friday. 

UM System president Dr. Mun Choi reaffirmed the boards' actions, calling the TPMC the "highest priority for the system." 

"Being able to provide that personalized, direct intervention and medical care to that patient who comes to the hospital because of the research that we do that is translated into the bedside, I think that's going to be key," Choi said.

Each campus chancellor, as will as the CEO of MU Health, presented their top capital priorities to the board. Plans could change in the future, but each chancellor had the opportunity to share their capital priorities for the next five years. 

MU Preliminary Five-Year Plan 

MU's top priorities, in order of importance, include the TPMC, renovation of the Sinclair School of Nursing, upgrades to the medical science building, a library depository addition and a new journalism building. The projects were identified as priorities in MU's preliminary five-year capital plan. 

MU chancellor Dr. Alexander Cartwright said the TPMC would help make MU more competitive, help grow the university's research mission and ensure the university maintains its AAU standing. 

The TPMC is sited at Hospital Drive and College Avenue and would cost $150 million. Back in July, the curators approved a state capital appropriations request of $250 million. However, the board said Thursday that they are looking at various ways to fund the TPMC as they are not expecting all of that money to come from the state. 

Judith Fitzgerald Miller, dean of the University of Missouri School of Nursing, said renovations to the Sinclair School of Nursing building would help increase revenue. She said they currently have to turn away two-thirds of qualified applicants due to lack of space. The project would cost $20 million, but Miller said they've already raised $15 million through fundraising efforts. 

"In some of their classrooms they're in there wall to wall," Miller said. "We need to have adequate simulation centers so they can practice and become competent and confident before they enter the clinical setting."

For the new journalism building, the university would redevelop Neff Hall, which, according to the preliminary capital plan, is currently in poor condition. Cartwright said the facility would bring together MU's media brands, including KOMU, KBIA, Missourian and Vox, in order to create a multi-platform environment. It would also have an MU Welcome Center on the first floor, due to its central location. It would cost $45 million and is the lowest priority among the five priority projects identified for the MU campus. 

Journalism school dean David Kurpius was not available for comment Friday.

Capital Planning Process

The five-year capital planning process is a new initiative for the board. At their September board meeting, UM System chief financial officer Ryan Rapp said they have been working on an annual budget for the past decade and now need to think about a longer planning cycle.

The boards' early involvement in the capital planning process is also a recent change. Previously, the board was only involved in approval, but with $1.6 billion in facilities' needs across the system, members are now taking on a key role in capital funding and investment. 

Thursday's board meeting was not for project approval. Members met to ask questions about the priorities on each campus; they will reconvene in the spring to decide how they want to go about funding the various projects. 


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