The Mizzou Center may be in Blue Springs, but the new facility will have an economic impact that goes well beyond that eastern Jackson County community's city limits.
"This represents an economic development triumph for Blue Springs, all of Jackson County and the entire Kansas City metropolitan region," stressed Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders after the Mizzou Center open house held Tuesday, May 18.
The University of Missouri (MU) has leased the space for the Mizzou Center in the Heartland Financial Building, located near Interstate 70 and Adams Dairy Parkway in Blue Springs. The center is the first building block in Blue Springs' bold initiative to create the Missouri Innovation Park, a 500-acre complex for research facilities and companies primarily focusing on life sciences.
MU will be the Innovation Park's anchor tenant. When fully operational, the Mizzou Center will offer services ranging from academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students to providing technical counseling for local businesses. University officials expect the Center to expand rapidly.
"Mizzou is a major economic driver for the state," said MU Chancellor Brady Deaton. "The tenants of this building will build partnerships, develop smoother transitions for technology transfers and create jobs."
A Regional Asset
Sanders praised Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross and Blue Springs Economic Development Council President Brien Starner for forming this beneficial partnership with MU. The benefits are likely to be experienced in every county within Greater Kansas City, he reiterated, saying, "The people who will be employed in this complex and the students who'll enroll in the programs at the Mizzou Center will come from all corners of our region."
Mayor Ross shares Sanders' belief the Mizzou Center and Innovation Park will be a catalyst for further development.
"People will stop and take note," he stated.
An 'Ideal Situation'
The Mizzou Center's first occupants include these six programs:
• MU School of Information Science and Learning Technologies
• MU Extension Food and Nutrition
• MU College of Veterinary Medicine
• Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers with the MU College of Engineering
• Mizzou Career Services
• MU Office of Research
Al Black, 39-year veteran of MU's University Extension services, has been named the first director of the Mizzou Center. He previously served as the west central regional director for MU Extension.
"I've always dreamed that MU would have an expanded physical presence in the Kansas City region," Black said. "Over time, we've explored various options, but this is the ideal situation as many aspects of the University will be represented. It's exciting to know that I'll play a part in building something that will fundamentally change the landscape of the University of Missouri in the Kansas City region."