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Examiner
  • Mizzou Center is springboard for future plans

  • Classes continue at the Mizzou Center, and more may very well be on their way.

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  • Classes continue at the Mizzou Center, and more may very well be on their way.
    Al Black, director of the center, said there has been a lot of activity at the new center, at 1600 N.E. Coronado Drive in the Heartland Financial Building, since it opened last summer.
    Approximately 8,000 square feet of office space on the first floor of the Heartland Financial Building has been transformed in the last few months. Six departments are available, with others planned for the future.
    “This spring we’re holding one-day seminars for business and professional people,” Black said. “It shows that the level of activities is increasing.”
    The center serves as a location where graduate students can finish specialized training in areas including life sciences, social work and technology. There is additional space available for companies that want to locate there and partner with the university.
    “We’re continuing to capitalize on that, trying to attract companies,” he said.
    Currently the center offers three graduate-level courses in library science and a masters program in social work. Black said the center is planning for additional classes.
    The city of Blue Springs and the University of Missouri opened the doors late last spring to what they called the anchor, or the magnet, that will attract students, researchers and, hopefully, aspiring companies to Blue Springs and the greater Kansas City area.
    About a dozen university representatives operate the facility, which was designed to be temporary until an actual bricks-and-mortar Mizzou Center can be constructed.
    The Mizzou Center was initially to be the first building constructed for the hugely ambitious Missouri Innovation Park, an estimated 118-acre complex that is expected to house research facilities and start-up companies that focus primarily on the animal health and life sciences.
    The Mizzou Center would be that location where research would take place, where graduate students assist on-site companies, both established and start-ups.
    However, the university announced last March that it was scaling down its original plans because of budget concerns. Instead, the university would lease space at the Heartland Financial Building and build momentum from there.
    With more than 25,000 Mizzou alumni living in the Kansas City area, university spokesmen said earlier this year that was a significant pool from which to draw support and, hopefully, a work force.
    Tenants of the building are expected to build partnerships, develop smoother transitions for technology transfer and create jobs. It also will create opportunities for jobs, build connections with students, become a rallying point for alumni and assist development efforts.
    For more information, call 816-655-6718.
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