Respond to MU’s demolition plans

Interested in letting MU know how you feel about the demolition of eight buildings on campus?

Here’s information about how you can have your say.

The Univesity of Missouri has announced plans to demolish eight buildings, including several which are historic. The buildings are Parker Hall, Noyes Hall, Old Student Health Building, Columbia Professional Building, Read Hall, Loeb Hall, London Hall, Neff Annex.

Read Hall is on the White Campus and was at one time home of the history department. Parker Hall/Noyes was originally Columbia’s hospital and still contains its original operating theater.

  • To share your views, you can contact Amanda Staley Harrison, chair of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission posted this on Facebook and it is reprinted here with her permission:

“Hello friends, I am the Chair of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission. I received a letter today from a wonderful young woman who is a freshman at Mizzou, concerned about the planned demo of several historic buildings that was announced earlier this week.

“I want to make sure that all of you are aware that if you have similar concerns about the demolition, the Historic Preservation Commission would like you to reach out to us and share your concerns.

“While we don’t have the power to legally stop the demolition, we do have the power to share your concerns with MU’s administration. I would also encourage you to email Gary Ward, Mun Choi, and deans of the respective colleges affected to voice your displeasure, as well as members of the Missouri legislature – the University is state-owned and state property and at the end of the day will have the most effective pressure if it comes from the folks writing the checks for the budget. The buildings planned for demo are in the linked news release. My email is a.staleyharrison@gmail.com. Please feel free to email me any time. We will also be discussing this issue at our next meeting on April 6th at 7pm in City Hall. I welcome you to join us.-Amanda Staley Harrison.”

The news release Staley Harrison references is below in its entirety:

MU announces implementation of space reduction plan

Plan includes new process to schedule all classes centrally.

March 4, 2021
Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu 

University of Missouri officials announced today the first phase implementation of the Space Reduction and Strategic Relocation Plan. Officials estimate that the plan will save the university more than $93.7 million in repair and maintenance work and more than $2.5 million in annual operating costs. Additionally, the Office of the University Registrar will begin phasing in a plan to expand the central scheduling of classes as a way to utilize the university’s remaining space in the most efficient manner possible.

“With evolving technology, we do not need as many buildings as we once did,” said Gary Ward, vice chancellor for Operations. “Additionally, our maintenance and repair backlog are now approximately $868 million. These actions will help us reduce that number significantly.”

As part of the plan, several buildings, including Parker, Read, Loeb and London halls, will be demolished. Additionally, Mizzou North, which currently houses the Museum of Art & Archaeology and the Museum of Anthropology, will be emptied. The museums’ collections in Mizzou North will be moved to the central campus and portions of the collections will be on display in an Ellis Library gallery space.

Ward said the arts and humanities remain a research and educational priority on the campus. For example, one year ago, university officials celebrated the opening of the 47,000-square-foot, $24 million Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center.

While the Museum of Art & Archaeology and Museum of Anthropology collections will be on display in an Ellis Library gallery space, museum staff and supporters are working on a visioning process for the Museum of Art & Archaeology’s future.

“While the move will pose challenges and inevitable disruptions, this action brings the museums back to the central core of the campus,” said Pat Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science. “We have already identified a leadership team of museum staff to lead the move back to campus, and we are all committed to having Ellis Library gallery space ready as soon as possible. During this transition, the museums will continue their excellent work regarding digital and online exhibits.”

In addition to the reduction in physical space, the Office of the Registrar eventually will be scheduling the majority of classrooms centrally. Currently, some departments, schools and colleges have sole control over certain classrooms. The new process will ensure that space is being used as efficiently as possible.

Details of the space utilization plan include:

  • Mizzou North
    • Vacate
    • Continue the search for a buyer.
    • Savings: $1.25 million in annual costs; $54.7 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.
  • Parker Hall, Noyes Hall and Old Student Health Building
    • Demolish
    • Savings: $364,000 in annual costs; $12.8 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.
  • Columbia Professional Building
    • Demolish
    • Savings: $120,000 in annual costs; $5.3 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.
  • Read Hall
    • Demolish
    • Savings: $140,000 in annual costs; $4.3 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.
  • Loeb Hall
    • Demolish
    • Savings: $98,000 in annual costs; $2.53 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.
  • London Hall
    • Demolish
    • Savings: $98,000 in annual costs; $3.16 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.
  • Neff Annex
    • Demolish
    • Savings: $134,000 in annual costs; $5 million removed from maintenance and repair budget.

As a result of these actions, some staff in other buildings, including those in Clark, Lewis, McReynolds and Middlebush halls could also experience location changes.

“Through this plan, we are eliminating space costs that allow more funds to be reinvested back into our research and educational missions,” Ward said.

“Evolving technology has made it possible for the university to continue to fulfill its missions during the pandemic,” said Marsha Fischer, vice president for Human Resources. “Additionally, candidates who have been applying to work at the university have expressed an interest in remote or hybrid work arrangements. Being an employer who can effectively offer and manage these alternatives to the traditional work space will help us continue to be competitive in recruiting top talent.”

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