The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering will receive $2 million of a $15 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation for key renovations within Flarsheim Hall.
The work will reconfigure existing spaces in Flarsheim in conjunction with the completion of the new $32 million Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center, scheduled to be finished in August 2020. In 2018, the Sunderland Foundation provided the lead gift for this center, which will be a significant addition to the community as well as the university, and will include labs that incorporate virtual reality, clean rooms and renewable energy coupled with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of the Sunderland Foundation,” said Dean Kevin Z. Truman. “This gift makes possible renovations in Flarsheim Hall that will create an environment for multidisciplinary collaboration through additional teaching, research and office space, and a seamless transition from the new Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center. With this state-of-the-art facility being built connected to the south face of Flarsheim, we’re excited that Flarsheim will be receiving the modernization it needs for these spaces to serve as a hub for science, engineering and technology at UMKC.“
Flarsheim will connect to the new building on all five floors. Research space upgrades include enlarging the materials and nanomaterials labs on the first floor, which are used not only by the school’s researchers but those throughout the university. By enlarging this space it would create a large research suite that would be much more conducive to collaboration and multidisciplinary research.
The machine shop — used for building prototypes and testing apparatuses for UMKC researchers — will be expanded to accommodate additional, new equipment and personnel due to the large increase in research projects that need custom-built equipment.
In addition, the dean’s suite offices will be upgraded and overhauled to be more collaborative with staff.
The front entrance of Flarsheim will be overhauled with a community wall that showcases the wide variety and plentiful opportunities for careers for students who complete degrees at the school. Designed by Dimensional Innovations, this installation will feature the logos of 60 companies in the Kansas City Metro who engage with the school in a variety of ways.
As the school continues to work to grow enrollments—especially in new degree programs including construction engineering and management, architectural engineering, biomedical engineering, data analytics and cyber security – the community wall will be an important recruitment tool, clearly demonstrating the potential for students to establish their careers in Kansas City. Currently, 80% of undergraduates take jobs in the metro area.
Story by Stacy Downs,