Construction Begins to Create New MSSU Child Development Center

Construction Begins to Create New MSSU Child Development Center
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RE Smith construction crews are in demolition mode. They’re taking down ceilings and walls of the once residential area of the Joplin Regional Center. MSSU is leasing about two thirds of the building and moving its early childhood development center here.

Center assistant director Julie Vandine said of the move, “It means lots and lots of room. It means growth for more children. I am so excited about this. We are going to have larger classrooms. We are going to have an indoor gym for those days when weather is not pleasant.”

Physical plant director Bob Harrington said, “We’re gonna create a brand new entrance on the back side of the building that will be our entrance to the child development center with new ramps and planters and a canopy over the whole area.”

Vandine said of having two playgrounds at the new site, “The outdoor playground will be based as an outdoor classroom. It will have different centers and with a lot of freedom to move and more nature.”

Missouri Southern State University recently reported record enrollment. Making space for students and programs is prompting a string of construction projects like this one. M oving the early childhood program is part of a bigger plan campus wide, shifting programs to make space at the health sciences building for the UMKC dental school program.

Harrington said, “Before I get the child development center out of there, (Taylor building) we’ll actually start remodeling, or doing construction on the addition. We’re gonna do a, probably twenty thousand square foot addition to that (Taylor) building.”

Psychology will move to Taylor but has to vacate health sciences before construction at Taylor is complete. So psychology will first move to the annex. FEMA trailers now housing science students as Reynolds hall is renovated.

Harrington said, “It’s a challenge. I gotta basically move everybody from one end of campus to the other in this process.”

But it’s a good problem to have signaling growth for the university and Harrington expects even more to come.

He added, “With the new medical school coming… into town, the dental school actually being on our campus, and the relationships we’ve developed with both of those, I think pre-med pre-dental programs are just gonna go through the roof.”

The child development center is expected to move during spring break. The UMKC dental school starts construction in July of 2017.