Lee’s Summit School District’s newly constructed Missouri Innovation Campus celebrated a grand opening on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people attended the event at the new building, which is located at 1101 Innovation Parkway. It opened its doors in mid-August, just in time for the 2017-18 school year.
The new Missouri Innovation Campus comes after voters approved a $40 million bond issue in 2015.
The Lee’s Summit school district is paying for 40 percent of the new school with the University of Central Missouri paying the remaining 60 percent. Through the agreement, the district said it’s the sole owner of the facility with the university paying its portion of costs through lease payments.
The two-story 135,000-square-foot facility was built by McCownGordon Construction. For the project, DLR Group provided architecture and design services in collaboration with Gould Evans. The school houses the Missouri Innovation Campus program, Summit Technology Academy and University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit. The district said in August that about 550 high school students from 14 school districts are expected to attend classes at the facility, along with about 3,000 university students.
“This Missouri Innovation Campus is a shining example of what happens when organizations and individuals work together for a greater good,” said Superintendent Dennis Carpenter. “Thanks to our partnership with higher education and the support of our community, we are able to save money for taxpayers and, most importantly, better prepare our students for success in life.”
“The opening of this new facility really represents game on,” University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose added. “Now our challenge is to take something we have demonstrated is actually possible and make sure it is accessible, not only to students and their families who take full advantage, but for future talent across our region to make Kansas City more competitive.”
The celebration on Monday included presentations by Carpenter, Ambrose and Gov. Eric Greitens.
The district said Greitens met with Carpenter and Ambrose, watched a demonstration in one of the school’s nursing labs and heard from Missouri Innovation Campus students as part of a student roundtable.
In a joint program between Summit Technology Academy, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri, high school students enroll in dual-credit classes. It enables them to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years, cutting back on student debt. Students in the program participate in paid internships to develop work-ready skills.
The district noted that the Missouri Innovation Campus program was recognized by President Barack Obama during a visit to Warrensburg in 2013.