Board accepts bid on health sciences building

After 10 years the health sciences building is one step closer to completion.

The Missouri Southern Board of Governors unanimously voted to award the contract to the lowest bidder, Dalton-Killinger Construction.

The multimillion dollar health sciences building will house Southern’s nursing, radiology, dental hygiene, repertory therapy and other health-related programs in 84,000 square feet, roughly the size of Webster Hall, built on the site of parking lot 14.

Dalton-Killinger’s bid came in at $11,923,879. The building will be financed by the sale of Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) assets, as dictated in last year’s Senate Bill 389.

At Friday’s Board meeting, Chairman Dwight Douglas raised questions about the possibility of not receiving sufficient compensation for the cost of the building.

“This is really going to be nailed down by appropriations, my concern was, have we done our due diligence. I think that concern is going away,” he said.

Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin) said that, though the school must be reimbursed by the state for monies already spent, there should be no danger of the MOHELA well running dry.

“It would be political suicide just to not let that [the health sciences building] happen because the state has authorized it,” said University President Bruce Speck.

With the bid awarded for the project, the school can begin construction June 19 and start drawing from state funds.

“The faster they get it done, the better,” Nodler said.

Nodler also said that with the bid coming in at less than the approximate $19 million allocated for the building, any extra funds could be used to pay for equipment and furnishings.

Charles Killinger, president of Dalton-Killinger Construction said he is not concerned about state funding for the project.

“I don’t think the college would enter into a contract if they didn’t think they could pay for it,” he said. “I know they plan these things well in advance.”

Dalton-Killinger has worked with the University several times in the past including doing the day care additions to Taylor Hall, building four residence halls, remodeling Kuhn Hall and, most recently, remodeling portions of the Billingsly Student Center.

“It’s been a while since we’ve done a major project with Southern, but we’ve always had a good relationship with the college,” Killinger said.

Early testing of the site, as the area was heavily mined, declared it a stable location to build.

“It’s going to rest on drilled piers, if we encounter any problems we’ll encounter them at that point,” Killinger said. “It’s actually one of the safest ways of building, the piers go right into the bedrock.”

Dalton-Killinger will be subcontracting out a portion of the work but the project is expected to create between five and 10 new jobs and, when completed, Killinger said it will “help a lot of people to find better employment.”

“When you do something this big it always has a tremendous financial impact on the community and that’s great for Joplin,” Douglas said.

The building is set for use in 2010.