In her two years since transferring to Missouri Southern, Marissa Gard has had an up close view of the critical need to renovate Reynolds Hall – one of the oldest buildings on campus.

“They’re out of date,” the chemistry major said of the student labs. “We’ve just had to do the best we can with what we have. (Renovations) are needed, especially for the organic lab … a lot of students need to use that lab for their major.”

While requests for state funding for improvements to Reynolds have been made since 2006, help for those much-needed renovations is finally on the way.

Gov. Nixon announces that he will pursue funding to renovate Reynolds Hall.

Gov. Nixon announces that he will pursue funding to renovate Reynolds Hall.

During a tour today of Reynolds Hall on Friday, Dec. 5,  Gov. Jay Nixon announced that he will request more than $5.2 million in funding from the state legislature for renovations to the building.

The Missouri General Assembly passed a bill with bipartisan support that provides an additional bonding capacity of up to $200 million for repairs and renovation projects at community colleges and four-year institutions throughout the state.

Following a tour of the lab areas in Reynolds Hall, Nixon announced his intentions to work with legislators that will allow a number of long-overdue projects at Missouri’s colleges and universities to move forward.

“Many of these projects will improve facilities in the area of science, math, engineering and technology … our STEM fields, which are high-demand fields for creating high-paying jobs,” said Nixon. “And that includes the project that university leadership (at Missouri Southern) has identified as their top priority – renovation of the science labs in Reynolds Hall.”

Completed in May of 1967, Reynolds Hall was the second building to be ready for occupancy on what is now the campus of Missouri Southern State University. An expansion in 1988 nearly doubled its size (to approximately 63,000  square feet) at a time when a rapid increase in enrollment was straining the capacity of the relatively new campus.

Today, Reynolds Hall houses the biology, environmental health, physical sciences and mathematics programs. The coursework offered in the building is in high demand, as it provides prerequisites to nursing and allied health students or is part of a major with a large number of students.

Funding from the state bond proposal would allow the university to renovate more than 92,000 square feet of lab space as well as upgrades to classrooms and electrical systems.

While work may begin before Gard graduates next fall, she said she’s happy to see the project coming to fruition.

“I have a lot of younger friends who are chemistry majors, so I’m really excited for them,” she said.