Reynolds Hall readies for renovation


Brad Stout | The Chart

Students from Michael Garoutte’s Organic Chemistry course conduct a lab experiment Aug. 27 in one of the Reynolds Hall laboratories scheduled to be renovated spring 2016.

Funding for Missouri Southern’s $8.2 million project to upgrade the outdated Reynolds Hall has been approved, and negotiations to hire an architect and contractor will begin this week, according to University President Alan Marble. The long-awaited renovation of the math and science building has been a top priority for the University for several years since a request for state funding was first made in 2006, he said.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon initially announced $5.2 million in funding. That was followed by an additional $1.5 million in state funds with another $1.5 million in matching funds to be raised by the University.

“We want our students to have a first class experience rather than working with old, dilapidated equipment, desks and furnishings. It will be new and modern,” said Marble. “We’re very excited about it because our students deserve it and so does our faculty.”

Reynolds Hall, built in 1967 and expanded in 1988, was named after one of the original members of the school’s Board of Regents, Lauren R. Reynolds. The building has received little work since 1988 except sporadic purchases of new equipment over the years.

“We need to be able to prepare our students for the real world, and it’s hard to do that with outdated equipment,” said Dr. Teresa Boman, professor of biology. “Being able to give these students a University-level experience in the new labs will be very beneficial to them in the long run.”

Since 2009, the University has seen a 28 percent increase in the number of students seeking majors that offer the majority of their coursework in the building. The drastic growth has left space for those classes hard to find.

“The demand for classes in that building is enormous,” said Marble. “If you go in there anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. it’s very crowded.”

The acquisition of 15 trailers for a transfer fee of $9,840 has made the logistics of the remodel of Reynolds Hall much easier. The trailers, used by Joplin High School while the school was being rebuilt, will house students and faculty while the renovation is being completed.

“It’s looking like late April early May before we can start construction,” said Robert Harrington, director of the physical plant. “I would estimate the project will take 12 to 18, months at the latest, so by the spring semester of 2017, we should have everyone back in there.”