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Update on Honors College and College of Optometry Facilities

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Dear University Community,

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our founding, the University of Missouri–St. Louis is setting a course toward a renewed and reimagined future that will serve our university, region, and far beyond for decades to come. Towards that goal, UMSL came together to develop, align and champion our Campus Strategic Plan, Strategic Enrollment Plan, and our recently approved Campus Master Plan – all of which serve as the foundations for our future growth and investments.

Part of our original Master Plan called for a comprehensive renovation of the Provincial House in order to house not only the Honors College but the College of Optometry which is currently housed in Marillac Hall; a building slated to be demolished. Following a thorough assessment of the Provincial House, it was determined that the financial investment required by the campus to create appropriate facilities for both units would not be feasible.

A key goal of the Master Plan has always been to establish an enhanced academic core on the North Campus which included the transition of academic units such as the College of Education and the School of Social Work from the South Campus to the North Campus in concert with a comprehensive renovation of classroom, laboratory and community spaces to serve students for decades to come. Our ongoing assessment of our physical footprint on the North Campus provided additional opportunities to now consider relocating the Honors College and the College of Optometry to the North Campus where we can best provide both units with appropriate facilities that will attract and retain students, faculty and staff well into the future.

Honors College to SSB Modernization and Expansion:

We envision the area north of the University Libraries to become the academic core of our campus where students will be close to amenities including high-tech classrooms, learning and study spaces, computer labs, Starbucks and the student center. Now under consideration is relocating the Honors College to the academic core as part of the SSB renovation and expansion project. This move will also create more visibility for the Honors College to attract even more students to this high-quality program.

College of Optometry to J.C. Penny North Building:

Also under consideration – and pending approval by the Board of Curators – is relocating the College of Optometry from Marillac Hall to the J.C. Penney North Building. This would include renovations to provide faculty and staff offices, classrooms, study and breakout rooms, labs, and research space. It would also place the college near the Patient Care Center, which houses the UMSL Eye Care Center, as well as newly established classroom and skill room spaces. To create a more welcoming pathway between the two, this project would include way-finding signage and a walkway between J.C. Penney and the Natural Bridge traffic light by the Patient Care Center.

While no changes will happen immediately, Facilities Management will follow its process to assess space needs for all units engaged in these moves to ensure that we are in alignment with the Master Plan and meet the mission and needs of each unit. Over the coming months, we will work to ensure that any physical moves that may occur are done so collaboratively and with the intention of supporting our overall campus community.

Check the Transform UMSL website for more details and an updated timeline over the coming weeks.


UMSL Facilities Management