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Willow Brook plant to be named after Plaster

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Following a seven-figure gift from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation, Missouri State University is adding Plaster's name to the downtown facility that formerly housed Willow Brook Foods.

MSU announced Thursday afternoon that the building, which the university purchased in October 2008 for nearly $2 million, will be renamed the Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development.

The center will house a business incubator, which will be managed by Springfield Innovation Inc., along with the Small Business and Technology Development Center, the university technology and construction management program and other
support services, according to an MSU news release.

The school plans to use bonds to raise about $3.5 million to renovate the building, and the gift from the Plaster foundation will help make the bond payments for the next 20 years. A new roof, which constitutes Phase I of the renovation, is currently being installed. Exterior and interior work are scheduled for completion by fall 2012.

The center will be part of the IDEA Commons, the school's planned 30-acre urban research park bringing together innovation, design, entrepreneurship and arts with a blend of residential, retail and entertainment uses. According to the release, the IDEA Commons is expected to create 850 jobs in the next five years through commercialization of technologies and ideas created in the park.

"The IDEA Commons continues to capture the imagination of not only Springfield and this region, but the United States,” Missouri State President Michael Nietzel said in the release. “This gift and the naming of the facility allow us to take a significant step forward in the development of the IDEA Commons."[[In-content Ad]]

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