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College celebrates building expansion with ribbon cutting

From left: Mizzou Interim Chancellor Hank Foley, Gov. Jay Nixon, College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa, UM System Interim President Michael Middleton cut a ribbon held aloft by quadcopter drones at Thursday's ceremony commemorating the completion of the Lafferre Hall renovation project.

From left: Mizzou Interim Chancellor Hank Foley, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa and UM System Interim President Michael Middleton cut a ribbon held aloft by quadcopter drones at Thursday’s ceremony commemorating the completion of the Lafferre Hall renovation project. Photo by Jennifer Hollis.

The University of Missouri College of Engineering held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday to commemorate the completion of the renovation of the 1935 and 1944 sections of its main building, Thomas and Nell Lafferre Hall.

College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa spoke first, followed by MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley, UM System Interim President Michael Middleton and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. The building’s namesake, Tom Lafferre, as well as several members of the Missouri Legislature, UM System Board of Curators, MU administration and College alumni were in attendance.

The four speakers concluded the ceremony by cutting a ribbon held aloft by a pair of quadcopter drones piloted by Mizzou Engineering students.

“It is an exciting day for the MU College of Engineering,” Loboa said. “This event is the culmination of a construction project that began back in April of 2015 and an overall plan that was in the works even earlier. Today, we celebrate the completed renovation of Thomas and Nell Lafferre Hall.”

The project received the green light back in October 2014, when the State Board of Public Buildings — Nixon, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Atty. Gen. Chris Koster — approved a $38.5 million bond issuance for the renovations. The project itself began with a groundbreaking ceremony in April 2015, followed by demolition of the affected sections of Lafferre Hall in May.

Renovations to the building included a wide array of improvements and enhancements. Student-centric classrooms were added, with space for competition teams, student conference rooms and study spaces on the main floor. Additionally, classrooms include cutting-edge audio-visual packages, and one classroom — which can accommodate up to 80 students — contains a raised floor so electronic equipment can be quickly changed without the clutter of cords.

Conserving energy was a key part of the renovation plans. Natural lighting was improved throughout Lafferre Hall using clerestory lighting and two-story glass lobby inclusions. Also, the new facility incorporates an active air quality monitoring system. The total energy recovery unit in the general exhaust reclaims both heat and moisture to cut down on energy costs. Additional energy saving measures included all new LED lighting with automatic lighting controls, as well as two light levels and dimming capabilities provided per space.

Flexibility was critical in the newly renovated space. Laboratory equipment was chosen for its additional movability, allowing for easy modifications of lab setups, and demountable partitions are included throughout, particularly in office spaces to allow for ease of future modifications.

“In order to maximize our potential in these core areas, we must provide continual improvements to our facilities, so our students and faculty researchers have both space and state-of-the-art equipment to continue to produce and translate their groundbreaking technologies,” Loboa said. “The completion of the renovation of Lafferre Hall is a key step in this direction.”

In her remarks, the dean thanked everyone involved with the project at all levels before reiterating her commitment to the continued improvements of MU Engineering facilities for students and faculty researchers alike.

“I intend to continue working to improve our facilities and collaborating with other colleges and schools on our campus on novel ways to utilize our space as we constantly strive for excellence in education and research,” Loboa said. “Our goal is to foster interdisciplinary education and research in order to solve real-world problems, as well as providing enhanced experiential learning opportunities and nurturing our entrepreneurial spirit. Additional upgrades and opportunities to replace aging infrastructure with new facilities that will aid such world-class efforts will be the next critical step in this evolution.”