Three Rivers making upgrades with state funds

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Three Rivers Community College will be seeing several campus upgrades thanks to a bill approved last fall by the Missouri House of Representatives.

Three Rivers president Dr. Devin Stephenson recently announced that college projects to be funded by money from House Bill 22 will include over $40,000 in improvements for the math and science departments. The bill will also provide more than $25,000 for upgrades to the physics lab and the medical lab technology program.

"This was originally introduced as a bill called 'Caring for Missourians,' which was initiated by the governor of Missouri for community colleges," Stephenson said. "The intent of this bill is primarily for improving the campus: maintenance, repairs, renovations, and so forth."

Various purchases for campus improvements are scheduled, including advanced fire detection technology, powered doors for disabled persons, and more.

Stephenson said there are additional improvements to come, and money has been set aside from House Bill 22 to pay for them.

"We chose not to fund all the proposed projects at once, simply because we wanted the first round of projects to go through in order to better determine what our actual costs will be," Stephenson said. "When it gets right down to purchasing, we want to have a good idea of where costs will hit. But there are more projects that we want to fund, and we have dollars there that we will use."

Although the language of the bill specifies that funds cannot be used for "auxiliary enterprises" or athletic programs, Stephenson said he believes that the funding will still further Three Rivers' wider goals.

"I think that this money coming to the college is a commitment that the governor has made to community colleges and the role that we play locally in stimulating the economy and developing the workforce," Stephenson said. "We're using this incoming money to improve our campus and facilities, so that other funds can be set aside for workforce training and development, and several of the other things we're doing with area businesses and industries."

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