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UMKC Will Build State-Of-The-Art Computer Science Facility To Keep Up With Enrollment

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
Mayor Sly James encourages UMKC senior Imon Stevenson, a computer science major, to stay in Kansas City after graduation. James also encouraged Stevenson to become a mentor to other women of color interested in pursuing technology degrees.

The School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is getting a high-tech $32 million facility to help students compete in a global economy.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved construction of the computer science building, which will be adjacent to Flarsheim Hall, earlier this month. It will be built with a combination of state funds and private donations, including a $6 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation.

Interim Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer says the new building will provide faculty research space and additional classrooms for a program that has doubled in size in the last decade.

“This building will be a community resource,” Bichelmeyer said at a news conference Friday. “These high tech capabilities will be available to professionals from our world-class engineering and technology companies in Kansas to leading edge startups and fledgling entrepreneurs.”

Bichelmeyer says having a state-of-the-art computer science facility will help UMKC attract more students like Imon Stevenson, a senior who has already worked for DST Systems for more than a year.

“I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of all the future UMKC students who are now in middle and high school who will be able to make this new building their educational playground,” Stevenson said.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James told Stevenson she should come back to UMKC to take advantage of the new building and encourage other students to pursue careers in computer science.

“I am sure that when all those other students are coming in and benefiting from this new facility and all the things it has to offer, that they would love to see a young, brilliant woman of color tutoring, mentoring, working with other young women, particularly women of color, who are so vastly underrepresented in this field,” James said.

He offered to call one of the real estate agents he knows.

Business leaders say the new computer science building will create a pipeline for science and technology leadership, spurring economic development. About 80 percent of UMKC graduates stay in Kansas City after graduation. 

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.

Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

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