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No. 3: OTC debuts $40M manufacturing center

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‘A game-changing day,’ that’s what Ozarks Technical Community College Chancellor Hal Higdon called the higher education institution’s Aug. 15 opening of its long-awaited $40 million Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

The manufacturing center, aka the PMC, spans 120,000 square feet and is projected to have a $400 million economic impact on the region over the next decade.

The PMC serves as home to seven of OTC’s technical training programs: automation and robotics, cybersecurity, drafting and design, information technology infrastructure, manufacturing technology, mechatronics, and precision machining.

Roughly 15,000 square feet is designated as industry partner space, where local companies can train employees, create operational processes for new equipment, and conduct research and development. Lebanon-based manufacturer DT Engineering signed on as the first industry partner at the PMC.

Crossland Construction Co. Inc. served as general contractor for the 120,000-square-foot project designed by Dake Wells Architecture Inc. and its national partner, Minneapolis-based Perkins & Will Inc.

Voters approved a 5-cent property tax increase for the college in April 2018, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in late 2020. OTC received several donations for the PMC, including a naming-level investment from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation and six-figure gifts from SRC Holdings Corp., the Gentry family, Rick’s Automotive and others.

In August, the center’s opening was celebrated by local and state stakeholders, including Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe.

“We have people who want to go to work, and now we have people who will be trained to go to work,” Kehoe said at the time. “There are thousands and thousands of young men and women who will benefit from the Plaster Manufacturing Center.”

OTC was not the only local higher education institution with big news in 2022.

Drury University’s C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly Enterprise Center, Breech School of Business Administration and Judy Thompson Executive Conference Center, the first capital project in a 25-year campus master plan, was unveiled to the public on Oct. 28.

The $27 million, 67,348-square-foot structure that officials are dubbing OBT – an acronym for O’Reilly, Breech and Thompson – is set to host classes in January. The building includes 11 classrooms, 46 faculty offices and five academic departments. Construction for the facility started in October 2020, marking the school’s first new educational building in 20 years.

Nabholz Construction Corp. is general contractor for the building, designed by New York City-based Cooper Robertson & Partners LLP and St. Louis-based Trivers Associates Inc.

At Missouri State University, officials on Oct. 29 celebrated the completion of its $250 million Onward Upward capital campaign launched three years prior.

Actor and alumnus John Goodman, the Onward Upward campaign chair, was in attendance at a celebratory event, when visitors to the Great Southern Bank Arena were first to learn the campaign exceeded its goal, with commitments totaling $274 million.

Officials say more than $118 million is dedicated to support academic programs, nearly $80 million toward new scholarships and more than $70 million for new buildings and facility improvements.

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