The University of Missouri-Kansas City is in the midst of a growth spurt.
On Thursday, administrators gathered to watch the first dirt being turned for an $18 million classroom addition and new entrance to the Miller Nichols Library.
During the groundbreaking, a $1.25 million donation to UMKC was announced. The Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation gave $1 million, and Jeannette Nichols donated $250,000.
The building now will be called the Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center.
The addition is the third construction project on campus. Also in the works are an addition to the Bloch School of Management and renovations that will turn the old University Center into the school’s new Student Success Center.
The Student Success Center opens when classes start in the fall. The library addition and the Bloch school expansion are to be complete in fall 2013.
As a cool breeze moved across the campus green Thursday, University of Missouri System president Timothy M. Wolfe praised the progress on campus, calling it vital to Kansas City’s growth.
Chancellor Leo Morton thanked the Nichols family for their many financial gifts and said the library auditorium would be known as the Jeannette Nichols Forum.
A University of Missouri System bond initiative, approved by the board of curators in 2010, is funding the bulk of the addition.
The project will add 950 classroom seats to the university as well as a new south-facing entrance foyer that visitors will cross to enter the library and new addition at 51st and Holmes streets.
“This will be a campus resource like no other,” UMKC provost Gail Hackett said. “This will be a place where students and community members will come for instruction and advice, where they can study and write and collaborate, where our fundamental values of teaching, learning and scholarship are practiced — and revered.”