A proposal to build a manufacturing research and development facility at Missouri S&T is among the projects included in Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s proposed budget for higher education capital improvement projects.
The facility, known as the Missouri Protoplex, will serve as the anchor building for Missouri S&T’s planned manufacturing technology and innovation campus to be constructed north of Interstate 44. The Protoplex will provide shared space, equipment and technology to an “ecosystem” of manufacturers.
This Manufacture Missouri Ecosystem, or MME, will connect companies with researchers at Missouri S&T and other Missouri colleges and universities to provide the latest manufacturing techniques and technical expertise.
The governor’s budget recommends $41.25 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the Missouri Protoplex. That recommendation is part of Parson’s proposed investment of $468.9 million in ARPA funds for higher education capital improvement projects across the state.
“We are very grateful to Gov. Parson for his support of this vision to advance our state’s manufacturing sector,” says Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani. “The Missouri Protoplex will provide the state-of-the-art facilities, expertise and technical knowledge, or ‘tech-know,’ to prepare our state’s workforce for the future. This initiative also builds on our strong and longstanding partnerships with Missouri industry.”
The Missouri Protoplex will provide such “tech-know” functions as shared manufacturing, laboratory and meeting space where companies can develop prototypes for new products, connect with other manufacturers and entrepreneurs, and learn the latest techniques and practices for their sectors.
Missouri S&T has obtained a $50 million commitment for the project as part of a $300 million gift to S&T from the late Fred Kummer and his wife, June. Fred Kummer was a 1955 civil engineering graduate of Missouri S&T who founded HBE Corp., a St. Louis-based construction and design-build company specializing in health care facilities. The couple’s October 2020 gift to Missouri S&T established the Kummer Institute for Student Success, Research and Economic Development to support S&T initiatives related to research, promotion of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and economic growth.
“Fred and June’s vision for their generous gift was to elevate S&T’s stature as a leading research university, broaden access to education in STEM fields, and have a strong economic impact for our state and region,” Dehghani says. “The Missouri Protoplex aligns well with every aspect of their vision.”
The governor’s budget now goes to the Missouri General Assembly for consideration.