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A Sept. 13 groundbreaking is planned for a Southwest Research Center facility in Mount Vernon with construction scheduled for completion in fall 2019.
RENDERING courtesy Scroggs Architecture PC
A Sept. 13 groundbreaking is planned for a Southwest Research Center facility in Mount Vernon with construction scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

MU financing addition at Southwest Research Center

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A construction project for the University of Missouri kicks off next week that will result in an addition at the Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon.

A groundbreaking is scheduled Sept. 13, adjacent to the center’s existing Mount Vernon facility at 14548 State Highway H, about 30 miles southwest of Springfield. David Cope, superintendent of the center, said the aim is for the 7,000-square-foot project to be completed by September or October 2019.

Neosho-based Marion Co. LLC was the low bidder for the construction contract, Cope said, with a budget range of $1.17 million-$1.28 million. He added the total project cost, including architectural plans, is approximately $1.68 million. MU is footing the bill.

The current Mount Vernon center sits on 893 acres, Cope said, and the project will allow the center to host larger meetings and conferences.

“The existing room we have for meetings is smaller and outdated, as far as being able to utilize newer technology,” Cope said in a news release. “We often have people who want to host meetings at the center because of our location. We can’t always accommodate them because of the limitations of the existing facility.”

The Southwest Research Center, established in 1959, serves 22 counties, with a focus on addressing the area’s main agricultural industries of beef, forage and horticultural crop production, according to the release.

Serving as a footprint for MU in the southwest part of Missouri, the center is a meeting place for farmers, producers, MU Extension regional specialists and students. Cope said a covered walkway would be constructed between the new and current facilities.

“This gives us just more flexibility,” he said. “It’s not really replacing what we’ve got. It’s supplementing it.”

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