Economic Development News

Redevelopment of St. Mary's and LU Annex ... the perfect storm
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
By: Randy Allen, President/CEO governor announced at a press conference on January 20, that he would be asking the legislature to appropriate $10m to acquire and repurpose a portion of the current St. Mary's hospital for Lincoln University to relocate the Nursing Program and to provide space to house the new Culinary Arts/ Hospitality Management program. This is very exciting news for Lincoln as well as the community and may create a perfect storm for economic development.

The Storm begins…….

 In the 2010 Final Economic Development Strategic Plan, Consultant John Roberts of TIP Strategies recommended that the community develop a plan to support a repurposing of the St. Mary's facility into an educational center in anticipation of St. Mary’s move to the new location. Following up on that idea, two action teams were created as a part of the transformation process to develop the potential.

The LU ACTION TEAM was chaired by Beth Utrecht and Ryan Freeman, and the ST. MARY’S REDEVELOPMENT ACTION TEAM was chaired by Ken Hussey and Jane Haslag. These two action teams worked to provide a plan that would have created a project to be funded in part by approximately 9.0 million dollars from the temporary 1/2c transformation sales tax over a 10 year period. As we know, that effort was not approved by the voters in February 2012.

Governor Nixon has proposed for the State to acquire the facility at no cost and to develop a master plan for its use. We are gratified that some of the recommendations of the two action teams could be completed through this project and that this work was a primary driver of the appropriation plan.

Quoting from the Action Team Report on the Annex Idea, the intent of the recommendation was:

To establish a Lincoln University Annex Campus consisting of specific, community-focused, educational centers at the St. Mary’s Health Center complex following the move of St. Mary’s in November 2014. These programs will (1) enhance Jefferson City’s quality of place; (2) attract, develop and retain talent; (3) stimulate business growth through innovation and attraction; and (4) build infrastructure to support long term economic vitality.

The big ideas….the storm grows…….Nursing Science Development/St-Mary's-hospital---old-si.jpgThe Nursing Science program at Lincoln University graduates the largest number of students from a departmental standpoint.  Currently, there is a two year waiting list to enter the program.  Class sizes are restricted due to limitations on classroom space.   The University is very interested in expanding and enhancing its program in order to provide for the shortfall expected in the healthcare industry in the next ten+ years.  The School of Nursing and Health Sciences Center includes the AAS Nursing program, BSN Completion nursing programs and Surgical Technology program and a BSN program will begin in the fall of 2014. The potential for expansion of the Center at St. Mary’s is huge. Other potential programs being explored include the Surgical First Assist and a Master’s Degree in Nursing Science.

With enhanced program space, healthcare needs of the community can be planned for and met through introduction of quality healthcare providers.  This increases the number of students and faculty studying and working in our community.  The relocation allows the University to continue and expand collaborations with healthcare organizations, i.e. the sharing of simulation labs for continuing education credits, competency check-offs of RNs, etc.

Lightning strikes………..Culinary Arts Center

The idea of establishing a 4-year culinary arts baccalaureate degree will meet the need for a state-supported 4-year program in the Midwest.   Lincoln does not have the space or infrastructure to provide the teaching kitchens, demonstration classrooms, and facilities necessary to offer a culinary arts program; SMHC space can be renovated to provide this specialized type of space.  General education courses can be offered on the main campus with the culinary arts courses offered at SMHC.  This program will provide an opportunity for Lincoln University to collaborate with 2-year associate degree and certificate culinary arts programs (most common form of current education in this field) to provide an opportunity for their graduates to finish a 4-year degree. 

Faculty employed in the culinary arts program will bring highly qualified chefs to Jefferson City with their primary responsibility to the program, but with secondary benefits to the community including an opportunity to diversify cuisines offered.  This program will provide opportunities for interested community members to take select college level courses in culinary arts and/or short-term non-credit classes in cooking, baking, and diverse cuisines (offered primarily in the evenings and on weekends when facilities are not in use by the program).

The storm is real………….Timing is Everything

Rarely does a perfect storm develop to allow great ideas to merge with available funding that could make such a dramatic impact to a local community and state. The opportunity to immediately repurpose nearly 100,000 square feet of space and make use of 800 structured parking spaces at the most prominent location in the community is more than exciting. Three years ago the time was not right, but now the storm is upon us. With the State as the landlord, other public, non-profit and private entities could be located on the site to provide maximum critical mass for the redevelopment and to create the greatest economic benefit. The Chamber will work hard in the next few months to support the Governor, Senator Kehoe, Representatives Bernskoetter and Barnes as this idea moves through the legislature.  

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