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MSU board approves Brick City deal, appoints new officers

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The Missouri State University Board of Governors was busy Friday when it gave the green light to the school’s purchase of Brick City, approved new officers and voted to honor two government officials with awards.

Downtown development
MSU will buy four buildings in the Brick City development after receiving board approval, President Clif Smart confirmed this morning via email.

For $17.7 million, MSU now has the OK to buy buildings at 215, 327 and 305 W. Mill St. and 420 S. Campbell Ave. from Brick City LP and Brick City Two LP. MSU also has a two-year option to buy the property described in the board’s agenda as “Building 6,” 440 N. Campbell Ave., as well as the Brick City parking lot.

Matt E. Miller, the representative for the two selling companies, said via email this morning the sale is scheduled to close Jan. 23, 2019, pursuant to the terms of the agreement. 

Home to its Department of Art and Design and a cooperative pharmacy program with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, MSU has leased portions of Brick City since 2009.

The board also approved plans to issue $17.7 million in educational facilities revenue bonds to pay for the Brick City purchase, Smart said.

Executive leadership
During the Oct. 19 meeting, the board elected St. Louis resident Gabriel Gore as chairman and Springfield resident Craig Frazier as vice chairman.

Gore, a partner in the St. Louis law firm of Dowd Bennett LLP and a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, on Jan. 1 will succeed Carrie Tergin on the MSU board. Tergin is mayor of Jefferson City and also owns Carrie’s Hallmark Shop in the capital, according to a news release.

Frazier steps into Gore’s vice chairman role, setting the stage for him to become chairman in 2020. Frazier is currently a Springfield Innovation Inc. board member and previously served as chief operations officer for Ozark-based HealthMedX LLC.

The board also re-elected MSU Chief Financial Officer Steve Foucart as board treasurer and Kristan Gochenauer as the full-time secretary to the board of governors, according to the release.

Bronze to Blunt
The MSU board voted to give honors to former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt and outgoing state Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa.

Blunt, who in 2005 signed Senate Bill 98 to change the university’s name from Southwest Missouri State University, is scheduled to receive the annual Bronze Bear award during the Dec. 14 fall commencement ceremony, according to a news release.

“So much of the university’s growth in the last 13 years can be traced back to Gov. Blunt’s support for our vision,” Smart said in the release. “He understood then and now the value higher education brings to Missouri’s workforce.”

Missouri’s 54th governor, elected in 2004, Blunt also helped pass legislation that gave the state’s colleges access to $350 million for new facilities and economic development projects. An operating budget increase of $3.4 million, or 4.2 percent, championed by Blunt led to MSU’s curriculum partnership with Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Blunt now serves as president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Automotive Policy Council, a trade association representing public policy and trade interests with vehicle manufacturers, according to the release.

Past Bronze Bear recipients include philanthropist Bobby Allison, former MSU President Michael Nietzel and the late hotelier John Q. Hammons, the inaugural award winner in 1998.

The award comes with a 45-pound, 18-inch Bronze Bear statue modeled after the 14-foot version in front of MSU’s Plaster Student Union, according to the release.

The MSU Board of Governors chose Wasson for the Governmental Excellence Award.

Wasson, who’s terming out this year, is being honored for advocating for education, research and economic development. He is said to have worked to increase state funding for MSU, and in 2018, led litigation removing limitations on the school’s professional and doctorate degrees. According to the release, he also worked with other senators to reform the state’s tax increment financing laws to make funding available for MSU’s planned expansion of IDEA Commons downtown.

“He looks toward the future, and he sees the value that higher education provides in improving the state. Then, he fights to invest in that future,” Smart said in the release.

The fourth year for the Governmental Excellence Award, previous honorees are Gov. Mike Parson, Nietzel and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri.

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