Officials from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri gathered together Oct. 13 to celebrate a milestone in the construction of the new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus, a partnership involving both organizations.
At a Topping Out the Beam ceremony, Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM marked the placement of the final steel beam on the 140,000-square-foot building. The beam event is a tradition among steel workers and construction firms and marks a significant milestone in the construction process.
The event included brief remarks from Dr. Dave Benson, R-7 interim superintendent; Dr. Chuck Ambrose, UCM president; and Dr. Brent Blevins, R-7 deputy superintendent of operations. Immediately following the brief ceremony, the approximately 40 people attending had the opportunity to sign the final beam before it was hoisted onto the building via a large crane.
Dr. Benson praised the unique partnership between the two educational organizations. “We look forward to sharing this space with the University of Central Missouri as our joint mission to serve students and the community goes forward,” he said.
The 1,169-pound final beam tying the structure together joins nearly 942 tons or 72 truckloads of steel that have gone into the building project, under the management of McCownGordon Construction. Architectural firms for the new facility are DLR Group and GouldEvans.
The new Summit Tech / MIC is scheduled to open in August 2017. The school is made possible thanks to a trailblazing partnership that was established by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri. The agreement led R-7 leaders to place a $40 million no-tax-increase bond issue on the April 2015 election ballot. This bond issue, which is also funding numerous facility improvements at all R-7 schools, was approved by approximately 80 percent of voters.
The new Summit Tech / MIC will be owned by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Through the unique partnership, the University of Central Missouri will pay for 60 percent of the building through a lease agreement with Lee’s Summit R-7 funding the remaining 40 percent. The facility will house Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy; the Missouri Innovation Campus, a partnership involving R-7, UCM, Metropolitan Community College and approximately 40 businesses; and the UCM-Lee’s Summit.
Summit Technology Academy, established in 1999 by the R-7 School District, is a unique secondary school that prepares students for careers in engineering, computer science, health care and creative science. UCM-Lee’s Summit is the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and undergraduate-level completion programs to metro-area students. The Missouri Innovation Campus, established in 2012 at Summit Technology Academy, is a nationally recognized program that accelerates the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly reduces college debt and provides job-ready skills that are highly sought after by businesses.
Thanks to the partnership and the use of shared spaces and resources, the new building will save money for both Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM while providing students with a state-of-the-art facility for learning.