May 11, 2012
St. Joseph Center opens in new location, celebration set for May 31
The Northwest Missouri State University St. Joseph Center opened for classes this week at its new location in the Historic Green Acres building, and a grand opening event is planned later this month to celebrate the move.
St. Joseph Center staff members moved offices and equipment earlier this month from its former downtown location and opened the doors to the new space Monday in conjunction with the start of Northwest’s summer trimester. The renovated facility is located conveniently at 3500 North Village Drive in St. Joseph, near the city’s Belt Highway and just one mile northwest of Highway 169 and I-29.
“The location is everything, and it is so important to our students,” said Dr. Melody Messner, assistant director for outreach at Northwest. “Our goal is to make a difference in our students’ lives by providing them with relevant, practical, academic programs, helping them prepare for leadership roles and career advancement. This location is especially conducive to the needs of our graduate programs, it positions Northwest for growth in the St. Joseph area and we are very excited to be in a building that is aligned with our Northwest values.”
The public is invited to attend a grand opening reception and celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at the new location. The event will include giveaways and door prizes; Northwest’s NPR-affiliate KXCV-KRNW will broadcast live from the event and Bobby Bearcat will appear.
Other events during the afternoon of May 31 will include a faculty training session at 1:30 p.m. and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. Northwest will host its Advisement and Enrollment Session at the St. Joseph Center, prior to the reception, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Northwest announced its agreement last fall with St. Joseph Realtor Don Evans to occupy a wing on the 92-year-old building’s first floor under the terms of a five-year lease with multiple renewals. The move enables the St. Joseph Center to save on operational costs while offering its programs at a facility in a more centralized location with free parking. The 5,000 square-foot space leased by Northwest includes five classrooms, built to the University’s needs for size and Instructional TV, as well as office space.
Located in St. Joseph’s fast-growing northeastern sector, the property also is close to a bustling marketplace that adds further appeal for students attending the St. Joseph Center. The nearby Shoppes of North Village are home to numerous popular stores and restaurants, and it’s near hotel accommodations. A YMCA is planned across the street, along with a 28-acre city park.
The St. Joseph Center offers graduate programs in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, guidance and counseling, instructional technology, alternative certification and a Master of Business Administration. It also offers a Master of Science in biology program with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. in St. Joseph and a doctorate in education with the University of Missouri-Columbia. During the 2010-11 academic year, the St. Joseph Center served an average of 161 students per trimester.
The St. Joseph Center had been as its previous location since 2007. Prior to that, Northwest had offered post-baccalaureate courses in St. Joseph for more than 40 years, but always in classrooms provided by other schools.
About the Historic Green Acres building
The Historic Green Acres building was built in 1919 by the St. Joseph-based Lehr Construction, which still exists today, and initially served as an infirmary that provided a home for the county’s less fortunate. Residents earned their keep by working on a 300-acre farm on the surrounding land now occupied by the Shoppes of North Village development.
The building, which spans more than 32,000 square feet on two floors, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Its ornate, mostly brick exterior features large porch columns, detailed fascia, cove molds and dentils. Among the building’s many innovative interior features, a center light court draws natural light into the building and will be converted into a courtyard for the building’s occupants and visitors. Additionally, a 30-inch by 25-inch deep concrete cistern, which earlier caught rain water to use for the building’s day-to-day operations, remains in mint condition and is being used to water the landscape. The building’s shared space includes a banquet hall capable of seating up to 200 people.
Evans purchased the property in 2007 and is overseeing a seven-phase restoration of the building. The building is home to a variety of tenants that include Evans Realty, a bridal boutique, a hair stylist and a coffee shop.
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