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College of Engineering selects contractor for renovation

Brett Uthe, a mechanical engineering junior and a member of the college's ground crew, removes research equipment from the portion of Lafferre Hall that soon will be demolished.Photo by Marty Walker.

Mizzou has selected a contractor to rebuild the College of Engineering’s campus headquarters into a multidisciplinary research and education hub.

River City Construction LLC is slated to receive $15.64 million to raze a portion of Lafferre Hall and replace it with upgraded classrooms and laboratories that all the college’s departments can use. Though the Missouri Department of Transportation still must approve hiring the Illinois–based company, River City Construction submitted the lowest of five bids for the engineering project and likely will win the job, officials said.

Moreover, River City Construction—which also renovated MU’s life sciences building and recreation center—has experience with similar university projects, said Marty Walker, the engineering college’s director of administrative services.

“The recreation center project on campus was very similar to this project, because they had to remove portions of a building, keep everything going and build a new building all at the same time,” Walker said. “So it’s the same type of project.”

River City Construction probably will start work in September, and complete the renovation by August 2009, Walker said. The college recently finished an additional $1 million worth of preparatory work, which included installing new underground power lines and repairing old water lines to support the new construction, he said.

Funding for both projects comes from a $2 million federal grant and a $19 million loan approved by the University of Missouri Board of Curators about a year ago.

College leaders are overhauling the engineering campus to create a cross-disciplinary teaching and research environment. Students and faculty members throughout the college will be better able to work together and apply their research in the additional laboratory space the renovation will provide, they said.

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