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Jim D. Morris
Jim D. Morris

Local businessman sells land to Columbia College at discounted price

Posted online
Last edited 4:19 p.m., Sept. 27, 2011

Springfield philanthropist and oil industry veteran Jim D. Morris has sold property he owns in Rolla to Columbia College at a discounted price, marking the second-largest gift from a living donor in the college's history and the single-largest gift given to one of its satellite campuses.

Columbia College purchased the four-acre site - which has a vacant 37,000-square-foot building - on Blues Lake Parkway for roughly $813,000, nearly $1 million shy of its appraised value, said Brandi Herrman, associate director of public relations for the college.

The school's Rolla campus, which currently sits on two acres on Bishop Avenue and comprises 8,000 square feet, will relocate to the former Morris-owned property likely in summer 2012. With the move, Columbia College-Rolla will more than quadruple its current space, adding room for an expanded student lounge and study areas, computer labs, office spaces, an 8,500-square-foot auditorium and additional space that will be held in reserve for a classroom and science lab expansion, Herrman said.

"Once Mr. Morris understood the history and mission of the college and our current and potential impact on higher education in Rolla, he offered to gift a significant portion of the building’s value to the college," she said.

Columbia College-Rolla was established in 1992 as an extension of Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood but became its own separate campus in 1996. It offers six associate degrees, 11 bachelor's degrees and one master's degree program on campus, and 23 associate, bachelor's and master's degrees online.

Columbia-based Columbia College has more than 30 satellite campuses nationwide. Its Ozark campus will relocate to Springfield by the end of the year. The new space – 5,700 square feet leased at 3271 E. Battlefield Road in the Regions Bank building – will have 24 testing stations, compared to six at the Ozark facility, 741 N. 20th St.[[In-content Ad]]


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