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Missouri Legislature Might Still Consider Funding New UMKC Conservatory Building

courtesy: Helix Architecture + HGA Architects
A rendering of an aerial view of the proposed downtown campus of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

The Missouri Legislature might once again consider funding for a proposed downtown campus of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

The legislature approved $48 million in state funding last year, but it was vetoed by Governor Eric Greitens in June. Last week, Representative Noel Shull, a Republican from Clay County, filed a new bill, just before the filing deadline.

"I was just very disappointed we were unable to start working on it last year," says Shull. "Hopefully, we can revive the issue and move it forward and proceed on."

The proposed bill is similar to the one lawmakers supported last year with a slight funding boost. 

"With the passage of time, there's probably been some inflationary costs. So I put it in at $50 million," Shull says. 

UMKC had raised half of the costs of the $96 million project in anticipation of the state's matching funds. After Greitens' veto, university officials said they would develop new ways to finance the project "without reliance on state funding," and that they would announce a new funding plan last fall. That never materialized, however, and the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation withdrew a $20 million pledge in January. University officials said they would continue to forge ahead. 

"It is early in the legislative process for us to discuss specifics," Christian Basi, director of media relations for the UM System, told KCUR in an email. 

"But this is one more example of how supportive legislators have been toward the University of Missouri System, and we are very grateful for that support. We’ll continue to work with them through the end of session as all four campuses continue their work educating the students of Missouri."

KCUR is licensed to the University of Missouri Board of Curators and is an editorially independent community service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR ;89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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