Organizations Study Stand-Alone Site for MSU-Houston

Three organizations are studying the feasibility of creating a stand-alone campus for Missouri State University in Houston. Under the plan, space at a former industrial building is being evaluated.

MSU, the Houston Development Co. and the City of Houston are exploring the possibility of using space in the former Lee Co. building, a 48,000 square foot structure that sits on Spruce Street across from the Texas County Justice Center. The matter was discussed Tuesday night during a meeting of the Houston City Council. The city sees the plan as a means to accommodate future growth for MSU and gain greater exposure to high school students.

MSU began offering classes in Houston in January 2004. Its quarters are on North U.S. 63 in the Houston Plaza.

The Houston Optimist Club – through an agreement with the Houston Development Co. – also hopes to transform a part of the building into a community center that includes a fitness center operated by Texas County Memorial Hospital, before- and after-school activities for students and eventually basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts and other amenities under a multi-year plan.

The Optimist Club cites several reasons the Lee building is attractive: location to the school district campus, a good value relative to its replacement cost, ample space for expansion, a boost to downtown revitalization efforts and its proximity to various civic and governmental entities.

Key to the organization’s plan is acceptance under a program that would offer state tax credits to donors. There are signs that it may be close to approval by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Those funds would be used for the purchase of the building, which already has a tenant, the Exceptional Child Cooperative which services school districts throughout the region.

Under the Neighborhood Assistance Program, donors receive a 70 percent tax credit on their state returns and are able to write off the full donation on their federal income tax form.

PDF: Earlier story on Optimist Club plans for building

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