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Missouri State University officials announced Thursday that a major gift will help fund renovations of the former Willow Brook facility. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
The former Willow Brook facility in downtown Springfield will become a free enterprise center for students from Missouri State University’s College of Business Administration. University President Michael Nietzel made the announcement this week while standing in front of the building.
Nietzel says, “It’s my pleasure to announce that we have received a seven figure naming gift commitment from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation. And from this day forward, this facility behind me will be known as the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development.”
This facility is part of IDEA Commons, an area of downtown that the university is helping to revitalize. Nietzel says this facility, along with the existing Jordan Valley Innovation Center and Brick City will bring more jobs to the area.
Nietzel says, “Over the next five years, we estimate that about 850 private sector jobs will be created as a result of the activity that takes place in this neighborhood and in the projects represented by the IDEA Commons. That’s going to be enormously significant for Missouri State University, the city of Springfield, Greene County, and the entire state of Missouri.”
The free enterprise center will house a business incubator, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, and other university and community-based business programs. Because this facility was once a food processing plant, the Dean of the College of Business Administration Danny Arnold says it’s a good place for student labs.
Arnold says, “This building is uniquely suited for construction laboratories. The end result will be construction management laboratories that will not only rival but exceed anything available at any major university in the United States.”
Construction on the free enterprise center is expected to be completed by the fall of 2012.