President John Jasinski addressed Missouri legislators in Jefferson City, Missouri, asking for $35 million to cover costs for infrastructure projects at the J. C. Redden Jr. Power Plant and Martindale Hall.
Vice President of Finance and Administration Stacy Carrick said $25 million will be put toward new boilers in the power plant that are 40 to 50 years old, while the last $10 million will be used to update Martindale Hall so that it better accommodates a learning environment.
Carrick said the state asked public institutions of higher education if they needed any funds for infrastructure. She said the University decided its two major needs, which Jasinski took to Missouri legislators.
Despite knowing that the boilers needed replaced and Martindale Hall, home to the School of Health Science and Wellness, needed updates, the University does not have any final plans for either of the projects.
“It’s kind of the starting point of a process with the state to try to secure monies to help pay for those types of things,” Carrick said.
Assistant Vice President of Facility Services Dan Haslag said Facility Services said in an email to The Missourian that they were aware of the boilers’ condition and that they needed replacements for a number of years.
Haslag said the boilers provide heating, cooling and hot water to the majority of the campus, and having new boilers would increase efficiency and reliability of steam heating and hot water utilities.
Provost Jamie Hooyman said the only reason those boilers have not been replaced yet is strictly due to funding and other priorities.
“We sit down and we prioritize — this is a safety concern — obviously that’s going to be one of the first things that gets fixed and moved to the top,” Hooyman said.
She said that although there are updates that are needed to be made to Martindale Hall, none are due to safety concerns.
Carrick noted that Martindale Hall is probably the oldest building on campus that hasn’t had any major renovations.
“The School of Health Science and Wellness is one of our fastest growing programs, and so we want to renovate and upgrade that building to make it more … academic-friendly,” Carrick said.
Hooyman said Martindale Hall has had minor renovations to some classrooms, but the building, which was built in 1925, has not had any modernization renovations for the building itself, including some classrooms.
“We try to upgrade and modernize our buildings as we can, especially our classrooms because we want the best for the students, and the learning environments have changed,” Hooyman said.
She noted some of the changes the University has been aiming to make is making classrooms more functional for activities such as moving desks for group work.
Hooyman also said the University is hoping to accommodate for more technology-related learning based on what faculty and staff have learned about utilizing technology throughout the pandemic.
It is currently unknown if the state would fully fund these projects, but the University should know how much money they will receive by May 28, the day Missouri’s legislative session ends.
If the state does not provide the full $35 million, then the University will have to find other ways to pay for the projects.
Carrick said the University would have to consider any capital funds they have left to use, any donations they may receive or if they should consider taking on more debt to complete the projects.