Drury to break ground Oct. 29 on new academic building


Drury to break ground Oct. 29 on new academic building

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Aerial rendering of the Enterprise Center at Drury Lane and Central Street, looking southeast. The Shewmaker Communication Center is in the lower right; the Hammons School of Architecture is in the upper right. (Photo: Drury University)

For the first time in 20 years, Drury University will build a new academic building.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at the corner of Drury Lane and Central Street. A limited number of guests are invited. The event will be livestreamed.

“The Enterprise Center is wonderful and tangible proof of Drury’s current momentum,” said Drury President Tim Cloyd, in a news release.

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“Generations of Drury students will walk the halls of this building, and their lives will be forever changed by the teaching and mentorship they will receive within its walls.

“Our donors have demonstrated their lasting commitment to Drury by making it possible, and we look forward to thanking many of them in person as we break ground in celebration.” 

The three-story, 56,700-square-foot facility is the first major project of Drury’s campus master plan.

The $27 million project was funded through private donations. At the event, the naming donor for the new building will be announced.

David Hinson, executive vice president, thanked donors “for their belief in what Drury is doing and the lives this is going to transform.”

“These are difficult times and they have made sacrificial gifts in order to make this a reality,” he said. “We are grateful for our current students and we are definitely grateful for our future students.”

More: Drury reports enrollment dip, but not among international students

Hinson said interest in a new building for business education emerged before Cloyd was hired in 2016 and the master plan that was later approved.

“For us, it is a matter of looking toward the future,” he said.

The plans for the building include:

  • Promoting interdisciplinary learning by providing a new home for the Breech School of Business Administration and the Department of Political Science and International Affairs;
  • Reflecting an emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation that keenly balances learning-by-studying with learning-by-doing: the ethos of the Your Drury Fusion curriculum;
  • Housing the Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center, which brings together academic advising, career planning and development, and academic life coaching in a one-stop-shop for students;
  • A 10,500-square-foot Center for Executive Education attached by a colonnade to the main building. This conference center and flexible event space will be used extensively by the entire Drury campus and will be available for community use as well;
  • A café that will be open to the public;
  • Tying in with upcoming enhancements to the Central Street corridor as part of the City of Springfield’s voter-approved ¼-cent Capital Improvements Program.

Hinson said architectural elements present on the Drury campus will be reflected in the state-of-the-art building.

“We wanted it to be new and to be modern, but we wanted it to be something that you would look at and say ‘That fits within the Drury campus,'” he said. “The elements of the red brick, the stone elements.”

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Clifton Petty, dean of the Breech School of Business at Drury, said the new building will help accelerate a larger effort to revamp programs and curriculum across the campus. For example, the university is taking a new approach with its MBA program.

Clifton Petty (Photo: File photo)

“There is just a lot of good things happening with our programs and with our students,” he said.

Petty said top-notch facilities help attract students to business programs. He noted there is a lot of competition.

“You need really solid education and great faculty and we have that,” he said. “You need software, but the facility is certainly important to give students the tools they need.”

He said business programs must have technology plus collaboration and presentation space.

“One of the things I’m really excited about the building that we are building is that it really reflects the different angles or facets of business today,” Petty said. “And I picture students coming into that building who are, for example, interested in science or creative enterprises and come over and study with us in business.”

More: A radical overhaul of Drury University curriculum gains national attention

Brandon Gammill, vice president of facilities operations, has been involved in each part of the process. 

“The momentum we feel going up to this groundbreaking is really monumental. It is just a great feeling to move forward,” he said.

He said construction is expected to start mid-November and wrap up by summer 2022 so it can be open for fall 2022 classes.

Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to criley@news-leader.com.

Read or Share this story: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/education/2020/10/25/drury-break-ground-oct-29-new-academic-building/3672012001/


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