Be good neighbors

Be good neighbors

Be good neighbors

Today Missouri Southern officials and guests will break ground on a new building. In another year, Southern will have a new recreation center followed by a new health sciences building.

Schools across the country are judged not just by their academics, but by their leisure facilities. Southern administrators and the Board of Governors see erecting a structure as a way to serve the campus community and to retain students.

Once the inconvenience of construction has worn off and the new building in service, we have no doubt that students, faculty and staff will agree.

In the end it will be a good thing. In the meantime, offices across campus will be relocated and students will be hunting for buildings they did not know existed.

The vision of education is to expand beyond our existing walls. Construction will expand our campus. The community supports Southern’s expansion, but do we support the community?

When University President Bruce Speck arrived on campus, he talked about making ties with Joplin. He talked about strengthening dialogue between campus departments and opening strong lines of communication with the administration. He has made himself available to Southern to hear concerns from the campus community, but how far does that communication extend?

Somewhere in the shuffling priorities, Carthage was left out when acquisition of the McCune-Brooks Hospital building fell by the wayside.

The failed agreement was the product of a former president and a former mayor. Things were bound to slide, but surely the situation did not need to be so dramatic.

Money, fingered as the chief problem, is always tight. With two imminent construction projects, the rising cost of education and an uncertain economy, now is no exception to the rule, but Southern should be a neighbor.

Fair warning would have gone a long way towards alleviating the problem. Improving dialogue on campus to reach outside our borders will prevent another misunderstanding of this size.

Southern sees the McCune-Brooks Hospital building as a Carthage problem. Carthage sees it as a lack of communication from Southern and, unfortunately for them, they will be paying the price.

Finger pointing does not make for long-term solutions. As Southern establishes its priorities and moves on, we urge our Board and administration to plan, talk and come together. But not just with each other. Strong community ties will build a strong campus.

It can’t just be about us.