UMKC also considering Joplin expansion

It appears that Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences is not the only option on the table for Missouri Southern.

University officials have confirmed that the University of Missouri-Kansas City is also considering locating a satellite campus at Southern. Whereas KCUMB is considering placing a satellite medical school here, UMKC’s would be an expansion of its dental program.

“We are in the final stages of a feasibility study to determine if we can extend our established DDS program in another area of the state to provide oral health providers to areas of need by creating a regional program,” UMKC School Of Dentistry dean Marsha Pyle told The Chart in a statement Wednesday. “Using distance education and an onsite clinic, we hope to provide education to students with a commitment to serve the needs of our communities that need them.”

MSSU president Bruce Speck says he has not talked with KCUMB recently, saying the ball is in KCUMB’s court.

“We’re waiting,” he said. “They’re supposed to give us a decision, the first part of April, end of March, first part of April. The people came down, did their due diligence, and that’s the last I’ve heard, really.”

Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Pat Lipira says neither school’s decision would hinder MSSU’s ability to accommodate the other, should both or either school decide to come to Joplin.

“Again, they [UMKC] sent down a group to do a feasibility study,” she said. “They’ve asked a couple questions, that’s about it. And so, everything’s just kind of, we’re sitting here waiting, I mean, we have a chance of getting both, we have a chance of getting none, and maybe one.”

Lipira says UMKC sent consultants to Joplin for its feasibility study “maybe a month before KCUMB.”

KCUMB is expected to reach a decision on whether or not to expand to Joplin at its April board meeting. Southern has said if the school approves such a deal, a new academic building would have to be constructed using private funds to house the medical school.

Plans for a UMKC deal are not as clear-cut.

Lipira said UMKC did not provide details as to how much space it would require for a dental school, nor did it reveal a timeframe in which a decision could come.

Both Speck and Lipira said they believe the schools saw positive things during their feasibility studies.

“I think we put our best foot forward,” Speck said. “And gave them the accurate, but a very clear view of what we could or could not do for them. And I think that that’s what we need to do; be honest with them but promote Southern.”

“They left here going ‘Wow.’ I think they were wowed by several things … My reaction would be, I think they came down here not knowing and left pleasantly surprised with what we have to offer.” Lipira said.