The University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business has raised half of the money needed to build a $22 million entrepreneurship center across the street from Cornell Hall, and it is now waiting to see whether the Missouri General Assembly approves the rest through a construction project matching fund.
Trulaske Dean Joan Gabel said the Applied Learning Center would use a teaching approach similar to the Missouri Method at the MU journalism school, where students get hands-on training in professional media.
“The Applied Learning Center will allow our students to engage in real-time business practices in an environment where they can learn how to apply their skills with the assistance and support of faculty, staff and mentors,” Gabel said.
The College of Business needs more classroom space because it expects to increase enrollment from 4,200 to 6,000 students, according to MU’s request for state funding.
The Applied Learning Center would be located on the southeast corner of Rollins Road and Tiger Avenue and is being designed to house actual entrepreneurial startups run by MU business students.
“Faculty will have state-of-the-art teaching and research environments that leverage technology and cross-campus collaborations so that our students can learn by doing,” Gabel said.
Students in the Applied Learning Center would also make trades and investments in a live environment, collaborate with innovators across campus and have “a multitude of other real-time learning experiences,” Gabel said. The new building also would provide environments to foster deeper interdisciplinary endeavors such as the current Biodesign and Innovation Program where a team consisting of a physician, an engineer and a business professional work, according to the funding request.
However, construction will not begin until the funding is approved.
The idea for the project emerged 18 months ago through a collaboration between faculty, staff and a strategic advisory board. Gabel and her colleagues went to alumni without drawings or blueprints — nothing but a concept — and they raised $11.1 million in pledges in six weeks.
“We have experienced tremendous generosity from donors who all understand the impact this type of learning environment can have on business in Missouri,” Gabel said. “With the combination of alumni and friends that have already pledged their support, the next phase in the process could then proceed.”
The University of Missouri Board of Curators agreed in November to add the Trulaske project to its list of four construction projects to present to the General Assembly this session, which began in January and ends in May. For the Applied Learning Center, MU is seeking about $11 million in the fiscal 2015 state budget through the Higher Education Capital Fund, also known as the 50/50 Match Program. The curators also asked for $6 million in matching funds for renovations of the College of Engineering’s Lafferre Hall.
The overall project cost of the Applied Learning Center is estimated at $77.5 million and the estimated annual operational cost is $1.3- $1.8 million. The size of the building, which is now part of MU’s Master Plan, would be 232,000 gross square feet.
Gabel said the building would blend in with the existing architectural style on the southwestern part of MU’s campus, and there would be a walkway or bridge connecting the new Applied Learning Center to Cornell Hall.