During a visit to campus on Thursday, June 16, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon formally signed two bills providing more than $16 million in funding for the Reynolds Hall renovation project at Missouri Southern.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 2017, which includes $6.7toward the ongoing Reynolds Hall renovation project. He also signed HB 2018, which provides additional capital improvement funding in the amount of $9.3 million.

Area legislators and university officials were on hand for the governor's visit.

Area legislators and university officials were on hand for the governor’s visit.

Along with $1.5 million in matching funds raised by the university, the bills represent $17.5 million toward the project.

“Each year, thousands of students step foot on this campus to pursue undergraduate degrees, professional certifications or master’s degrees, putting them on a path to a good career in a growing economy,” said Nixon. “The State of Missouri is a proud partner in your success.

“Today I’m here to announce an investment in Missouri Southern to advance a project that will benefit this campus and this community for many years to come.”

“We’re grateful for the investments that are being made on behalf of the students of Missouri Southern and across the state, especially at a time when our area is developing into a health care hub,” said Dr. Alan Marble, president of Missouri Southern State University. “We need to provide a first-class experience, and we are very thankful to the Governor and General Assembly for the vital funding that will make it possible to renovate and expand this critical facility.”

Completed in May of 1967, Reynolds was the second building to be ready for occupancy on what was then the campus of Missouri Southern State College. An expansion in 1988 nearly doubled its size (to approximately 63,000 square feet).

Today, Reynolds Hall houses the biology, environmental health, physical sciences and mathematics programs. The coursework offered in the building also provides prerequisites to nursing and allied health students.

“We want to thank our legislators for their role in introducing these bills and making this funding possible,” said Dr. Brad Hodson, the university’s executive vice president. “The renovations to Reynolds – which include additional classroom and laboratory space – are a critical need on this campus and wouldn’t be possible without the support we’ve received.”

In Fall 2015, there were 412 students enrolled in biology and environmental health degree programs; 99 in physical science and 26 in mathematics. Total enrollment in the allied health areas was 804.

University officials expect to see even higher enrollment in those areas with the introduction of the Yours to Lose – Advanced Medical School Acceptance program.

In December, Missouri Southern formalized a partnership that will allow up to 25 students to be admitted into Kansas City University’s new medical school in Joplin, which will open in 2017.

“Given our partnership with Kansas City University’s Joplin medical school campus, we expect to see even greater interest in these programs,” said Dr. Paula Carson, provost and vice president for academic affairs.  “Creating a modern, 21st century learning environment will be central to preparing our students for the challenges of medical school.”