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No. 7: Colleges planned building investments top $67M

2020 Business Year in Review

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Two area colleges broke ground on academic buildings worth $67 million this fall.

At Ozarks Technical Community College, construction commenced in November on a $40 million academic building that college officials say is the largest and most expensive project in school history.

A Nov. 12 groundbreaking ceremony was punctuated by the announcement of a naming-level investment from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation. The 120,000-square-foot Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing under construction at the corner of Chestnut Expressway and National Avenue is named in honor of Robert W. Plaster, a southwest Missouri businessman and philanthropist, who died in 2008.

The CAM is designed to provide educational and training opportunities in automation, fabrication, robotics, mechatronics, and drafting and design. School officials say it will be the hub for many of OTC’s technical programs, including manufacturing technology, precision machining and computer networking.

At nearby Drury University, construction kicked off Oct. 29 for its Enterprise Center. This is the first academic building project for the university in two decades.

The O’Reilly family provided the lead donation for the newly dubbed C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly Enterprise Center, a $27 million, 56,700-square-foot building.

Chub O’Reilly co-founded O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: ORLY) in 1957 and later earned an associate degree in business at Drury in 1965.

The O’Reilly Enterprise Center is the first capital project under construction as part of the university’s 25-year master plan, said Rita Baron, chair of the Drury Board of Trustees, in November. It will span three stories and house the Breech School of Business Administration and Department of Political Science and International Affairs.

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