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Campus breaks ground for Lafferre Hall renovation

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Campus breaks ground for Lafferre Hall renovation

Interim Dean Robert Schwartz who served as Master of Ceremonies, thanked alumni and the Missouri Legislature for their roles in funding the project.

An April 18 groundbreaking ceremony officially launched the Lafferre Hall renovation. Above, Interim Dean Robert Schwartz who served as Master of Ceremonies, thanked alumni and the Missouri Legislature for their roles in funding the project. Also speaking at the event were, from left, industrial engineering senior Lauren Wertz, alumnus and engineering building namesake Tom Lafferre, UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. State Sen. Kurt Schaefer also made remarks.

Lafferre Hall has been awash with activity lately as preparations have been made and completed in advance of the recently started project to renovate and repair the 1935 and 1944 additions to the University of Missouri’s main engineering building.

The first phase of the project began in January with the moving of affected offices and laboratories. The Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department was relocated to the second floor of Engineering Building North, and some laboratory space and other offices were moved to Mizzou North, formerly known as the Ellis Fishel Cancer Center.

A photo of the exterior view of the north side of the building impacted by the project.

A photo of the exterior view of the north side of the building impacted by the project.

Meetings were held throughout the first phase with architects, faculty, staff and students to gauge their needs, and the Audio-Visual Committee met in March to discuss possible audio-visual packages with flat screen panels and other types of equipment, as well as an 80-student room with increased sound amplification and a raised floor to allow for quick changing of electronic equipment.

Hazardous remediation began in March, ridding the areas to be affected by the renovation of asbestos and other hazardous materials in preparation for the beginning of demolition work on May 18. The demolition work is expected to end in August, after which the construction portions of the renovations can begin.

Also in March, advancement announced plans to offer naming opportunities for the new rooms and lab spaces to be created by the renovation and the possibility of purchasing personalized bricks on the new north patio. Also announced was the inclusion in the renovation of a coffee shop to be managed by Campus Dining.

On April 13, officials from the University of Missouri, UM System and MU College of Engineering joined members of the Missouri Legislature and other luminaries for a groundbreaking to mark the ceremonial start of the upcoming renovation.

College of Engineering Interim Dean Robert Schwartz served as opening speaker and Master of Ceremonies, taking the time to thank several generous alumni as well as members of the Missouri Legislature instrumental in helping secure the project’s funding, including Sen. Kurt Schaefer, the House Speaker Rep. John Diehl, former Rep. Chris Kelly and current representatives Caleb Jones, Caleb Rowden and Stephen Webber.

After Schwartz’s opening remarks, those present heard remarks about the importance of the project from MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, UM System President Tim Wolfe, State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, Lafferre Hall namesake Thomas Lafferre and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department senior Lauren Wertz. After the speeches, the speakers grabbed shovels and broke the ground near the upcoming construction site on the north side of the building.

a diagram of Lafferre Hall from above showing the portion of the building to be renovated.

A diagram of Lafferre Hall from above shows the portion of the building to be renovated in red.

Loftin expressed gratitude to former Dean James Thompson, the Missouri Legislature and Nixon for their work in securing funding for what he called “the highest priority the University of Missouri had for its renovation needs.”

“This is not a new problem for us but one we now have the ability to solve thanks to so many of you in front of me right here,” Loftin said.

Wolfe called the upcoming renovation symbolic of what the university sets out to accomplish and said the improvements will help MU meet state and national needs for graduates in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — or STEM — fields.

“We need to keep growing (STEM graduate) numbers, and to accomplish this, we need the physical infrastructure behind us to have the labs and the classroom space in which to educate our students so that they can go on to productive careers and help the economy of the State of Missouri,” Wolfe said.

Schaefer is chairman of the Missouri Senate’s Appropriations Committee and serves on the Joint Committee on Education. He took the time to thank his fellow legislators who helped make the project possible and stressed the importance of continuing to grow state funding for education.

“I’m proud that the $38.5 million that the state is able to contribute to this project is going to advance the purpose of this land-grant university and make sure our students have the ability into the 21st century to be top-notch engineers,” Schaefer said.

Lafferre called the renovation a culmination of a long project, one which he’s been personally involved since beginning the process by making his generous gift to the college in 2003, calling it “money well spent.”

“This is probably the last phase of Lafferre Hall, and I think we’re going to end up doing it right as we’ve done everything else right here,” he said.

Wertz, who also served as president of the Formula SAE Racing Team, called her engineering experience “anything but ordinary,” and expressed the importance of the hands-on experience afforded to MU Engineering students.

“No matter where my future leads, I know that the education and support I received from the MU College of Engineering gave me a strong starting foundation,” she said. “I’m excited to see the opportunities available to the MU Engineering students after me because of the renovation beginning today.”

Demolition work began on schedule May 18, and this phase of the project will address HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and building envelop, and work will include reconfiguration of portions of the current structure to improve accessibility, increase space utilization for instructional research and collaboration and simplify wayfinding.

To stay up to date with the latest information on the Lafferre Hall renovation, please visit our website at engineering.missouri.edu. You can also find links to helpful maps detailing affected access points and sidewalks and other key information at the website.

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