UMKC's Downtown Campus for the Arts to get alternative funding, despite Greitens' veto

Posted at 12:35 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 18:43:39-04

The University of Missouri Board of Curators and System officials announced they will develop plans for an alternative funding match for UMKC’s Downtown Campus for the Arts (Conservatory) rather than seek funding from the state.

UM System President Mun Choi said in a news release details of financial plans for the $96 million construction project and $2 million operating costs are being developed without reliance on state funding.

“Current legislation would not commit specific state funding for the project and so knowing that and we wanted to get it started sooner and also that there's a good potential for cost saving if we can get it started sooner the decision was made to look for alternative funding,” Christian Basi, a University of Missouri spokesperson said in a phone interview with 41 Action News.

The university already has made other plans to pay for the campus.

“We're hoping to identify money through reallocation of resources both at the UM system and the UMKC level. We'll also be identifying so additional outside funding,” Basi said.

University of Missouri Board of Curators and System President Mun Choi said earlier Wednesday that the system no longer is counting on the state funding. University officials said the system will develop alternative funding plans that will be presented at the curators' meeting in September.

Donors have pledged $48 million for the project, led by a $20 million gift from Julia Irene Kauffman on behalf of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, according to a news release from the University of Missouri System. The new funding mechanism would deliver matching funds.

The downtown campus will be built directly across the street from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The news release says the campus is one of the city’s “Big 5” top civic priorities identified by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

When it’s complete, it will bring about 700 students, faculty, and staff to the district as a daily, daytime presence.


Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issues his first veto

On Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed the use of state funding to help build an arts campus in downtown Kansas City.

Greitens in a Wednesday statement said taxpayer money should not be used to help pay for the $96 million University of Missouri-Kansas City arts campus.

Missouri lawmakers in April passed a measure to issue up to $48 million in state bonds to cover half the cost of the arts campus. 


The Associated Press contributed to this report.