University administrators and Missouri legislators came together Monday for the groundbreaking of the $38.5 million renovation of Lafferre Hall, the main building of the MU College of Engineering.
Speaking at the event were University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe; MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin; engineering alumnus and philanthropist Tom Lafferre (the building is named after Lafferre and his late wife, Nell); Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-District 19); engineering senior Lauren Wertz, who offered a student’s perspective on the renovation project; and Bob Schwartz, interim dean of the College of Engineering.
“We owe it to the students who choose MU engineering and to their parents to effectively prepare [students] for their careers,” Schwartz said at the event, held outside a Lafferre Hall entrance. “The renovation will increase our capacity to achieve our educational and research missions and to fulfill our obligation to our students.”
Work will begin in late May, and completion is scheduled for December 2016.
The main floor will be student-centric with space for competition teams, student conference rooms and study spaces. Versatile lab space is planned for the other floors. The renovation will connect all of the college’s additions made over decades and align the building with guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On Oct. 16, 2014, Gov. Jay Nixon toured Lafferre Hall and approved state funding to renovate the 1935 and 1944 sections of the building. The renovation is the first higher education project funded from a $200 million pool of bonds authorized by state legislation last year.
Schaefer and Sen. Mike Parson (R-District 28) sponsored the bill, but other legislators were also involved. “I want to thank the senators for finding the dollars to make this happen,” Loftin said.