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Missouri S&T starts construction on first building of major campus improvement

Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani speaks at the ceremonial start of construction for the Innovation Lab on the Rolla campus on Thursday.
Jonathan Ahl
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani speaks at the ceremonial start of construction for the Innovation Lab on the Rolla campus on Thursday.

ROLLA – Missouri University of Science and Technology started construction Thursday on a new innovation lab, the first of many buildings slated to go up as part of a huge campus renovation.

The Innovation Lab will be a space where faculty and students from different disciplines will work together on new projects with a focus on collaboration.

“This will be a place where the facility, as well as the world-class faculty at Missouri S&T, are going to enable our students to become the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said UM System President Mun Choi. “And they will create new jobs and new opportunities for the next generation that’s going to come through this incredible university.”

The 50,000-square-foot, $37 million building is scheduled to take 18 months to complete and open in the fall of 2023.

While all levels of students will use the space, it is primarily intended for undergraduates.

“Students will hopefully find an inclusive facility in this wonderful building that is designed to be a playground for possibility thinkers,” said Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani.

The lab is part of a massive campus update that includes a new road leading to an arrival district from Interstate 44 mostly financed by the City of Rolla.

The master plan includes several new structures, including academic buildings and a gathering space for campus visitors.

Some of the funding for the construction comes from a $300 million gift from alumnus Fred Kummer and his wife, June.

Fred Kummer died last year, and Saturday would have been his 94th birthday.

Dehghani said the Innovation Lab is a major part of what the Kummers wanted to see in Rolla.

“So I say, Fred, rest in peace, happy birthday, and know that your shadow will cast long and tall in time and in space, here at your alma mater that you loved so dearly,” Dehghani said.

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