Foundation acquires former downtown library building

The Joplin City Council has approved an agreement for the Missouri Southern Foundation to acquire the former Joplin Public Library building at 300 S. Main St.

Per the agreement, the foundation has six years to raise the funds necessary to renovate the facility and make it ready for transfer to the university. An adjacent parking lot on Third Street is also included in the deal.

“We’ve been in discussions with academic departments across all disciplines to determine which of our growing programs will be best suited for the downtown location,” said Dr. Brad Hodson, executive vice president of Missouri Southern.

The next step, said Hodson will be to kick off a $10 million fundraising campaign to bring the project to fruition.

“We’re very excited about the possibilities of an expansion into downtown has for both the university and the city of Joplin,” said Hodson.

Mayor Mike Seibert said he looks forward to the foundation moving into the next phase of its plans.

“Missouri Southern having a presence downtown will have a dramatic and positive impact for years to come,” he said.

Earlier this year, representatives from the Missouri Southern Foundation worked with the city to discuss the proposal. Architects and real estate development consultants also participated in those discussions. Following a presentation to the city council in August, the university and the city attorney began negotiating a formal contract to acquire the building.

The former library building was built in 1980 on the site where the historic Connor Hotel once stood. A new library was opened at 1901 E. 20th St. in June.