Citing Revenue Growth, Nixon Releases Funds for MSSU, MSU, Other State Programs
Two area universities along with numerous state agencies and programs are getting a financial boost following Gov. Jay Nixon’s announcement to release millions in previously withheld funds.
Due to continued revenue grown, Nixon says he will make available more than $67 million that he had initially restricted from this year’s budget.
It includes $1.5 million in matching funds for renovation projects at Reynolds Hall and other budgetary priorities at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, which the governor visited on Wednesday.
“Many of the science and math courses taught in Reynolds Hall are in high demand because they are some of the first courses that nursing and health care students have to take. That’s why Missouri Southern has identified several specific labs in Reynolds Hall for updating and renovating.” Gov. Nixon said in a news release. “This will be a critical investment to enhance learning and research here at Missouri Southern, and to bring Reynolds Hall up to the level that students and faculty deserve.”
Completed in 1967, Reynolds Hall currently houses MSSU’s biology, environmental health, physical sciences and mathematics programs. Those fields of study have attracted a 28 percent growth in declared majors since 2009.
According to the governor’s office, the funding will help MSSU renovate two chemistry labs located within Reynolds Hall. Additional funding made available from a bonding proposal moving through the General Assembly will allow the university to renovate thousands more square feet of lab space as well as upgrades to classrooms and electrical systems.
For Missouri State University in Springfield, Nixon released $2.25 million in 50/50 funding for the Davis-Harrington Welcome Center construction project from the fiscal year 2015 budget. The facility is intended to serve as a gathering place for prospective students. It will include a welcoming lobby, offices, conference room, a 100 seat auditorium, and restrooms.
In addition to the millions in matching funds Nixon released for building projects at public universities, $10 million will go toward transportation aid for local school districts, and $15 million for college scholarships. More than 40 agencies and programs make up the $67 million total.
State Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced on Monday that 2015 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 7.7 percent compared to 2014, from $6.70 billion last year to $7.22 billion this year.
Nixon, however, is continuing to block the expenditure of $269 million in the 2015 budget.