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OTC plans to expand to the north and west of its location. The north portion will be divided into two phases, with the entire expansion expected to take 10 years or longer.
OTC plans to expand to the north and west of its location. The north portion will be divided into two phases, with the entire expansion expected to take 10 years or longer.

OTC targets 20 acres for expansion

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Ozarks Technical Community College’s 10-year master plan received unanimous Springfield City Council approval during its May 17 meeting, a move that ushers the school’s vision into the city’s official comprehensive plan.

OTC’s plan targets 20 acres to the north and west of campus, and the school intends to use the land for a multiphase expansion. A 4.5-acre expansion to the west is already in the works with the recent demolition of the Tindle Mills property. Other areas the school seeks for growth, including almost half of the 60 properties north of campus, aren’t owned by OTC, according to Springfield Senior Planner Randall Whitman.

Rob Rector, vice president of administrative services for OTC, said the school has purchased homes there on the brink of foreclosure, leasing them back to the previous owners at affordable rates.

“We are taking a very strong, neighborly approach,” he said.

Rector said the school serves 9,000 students on a Springfield campus designed to serve 6,000. Classrooms and parking are at capacity, he said, and some health care programs have been moved to OTC’s Richwood Valley campus. OTC’s master plan addresses those needs.

“The plan includes, but is not limited to, expansion of multilevel facilities for classrooms, expansion of programs, expansion of parking, including multilevel parking facilities, and expansion of facilities for central operations and administration,” he said.

Greg Williams, senior vice president of economic development at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, was one of three individuals to speak in favor of the OTC plan.

“Clearly, OTC is a key player in Springfield’s economic development,” Williams said. “Frankly, it’s an underappreciated community asset.”

OTC’s plan had been amended three times since it was adopted in 1998.

“Each time it was amended … to allow the college to expand one parcel at a time,” Whitman said. “(This plan) seeks to abandon that approach by allowing OTC a larger parcel of land in which to plan and grow their educational facilities long-term.”

Changes to Enterprise Avenue
A second council bill addresses the more immediate expansion of a facility shared by health care systems St. John’s and CoxHealth.

Council considered a first-reading bill that would make room for a building expansion for Enterprise Laundry Inc., 1540 S. Enterprise Ave., which services both St. John’s and CoxHealth and is governed by two officials at each health system.

“Due to all the expansion of both hospitals, we need more capacity,” said James Hopkins, St. John’s Health System property manager. “It’s either add on to the building or move elsewhere. We’d like to expand the building farther to the west, but without having additional property there, we can’t.”

If passed, the city would give up some public right-of-way on the east side of the 1500-block of South Enterprise Avenue to facilitate expansion of the Enterprise Laundry building. The bill states that Enterprise Laundry would cover the costs to relocate gas and water services, and reconstruct gutters and curbs.

Council will vote on the ordinance at its June 1 meeting.[[In-content Ad]]

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