SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Drury University has completed the first step of its 25-year master plan, with the completion of its brand new C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly Enterprise Center and Breech School of Business Administration.
The 67,000-square-foot, $27 million facility was funded entirely by private donations and is Drury University’s first new educational building in 20 years. The facility is known as OBT on campus, and is conjoined with the new Judy Thompson Executive Conference Center.
The building is the new home of the Mary Cox Compass Center and the Meador Center for Politics and Citizenship, hosting classes in political science, international affairs, mathematics and computer science.
The 62-foot-tall building is now the tallest educational building on campus and features 11 classrooms, 46 faculty offices, 115 parking spots and a capacity of 477 theater-style seats at the conference center, among other things.
“It’s a large, beautiful building,” interim Chief Operating Officer Aaron Jones told The Heartlander. “It has, in some ways, many modern features but it also is a building that blends in with the buildings on our historic campus – in addition to being a great resource for our students, our faculty and staff. The Judy Thompson Conference Center attached to that building will also provide a venue for events to come to Springfield.”
The university plans to hold classes inside the new building beginning in January 2023. At that time, locals also will have the ability to rent portions of the facility for conference-related events. Visitors will have access to erase boards, multiple screens and space that can double as a banquet room.
“We will see things unfolding in the coming semesters, but I think the new space and proximity will allow these departments in particular – as well as the rest of the campus community – opportunities to interface with one another,” Jones said.
The university also plans to bring the popular breakfast franchise Einstein Bros. Bagels to the new enterprise center.
“We think in addition to collaborating and working with each other in traditional classroom spaces, this is one other opportunity to offer students and members of our community opportunities to interact in the setting of a branded food-and-coffee option.”
This first step of Drury’s 25-year master plan to upgrade the campus was made possible by the “Go Beyond” campaign, which raises donations and recognizes individual staff members who have supported the mission, vision and priorities of Drury University. According to the university website, the “Go Beyond” campaign brought in $73 million in donations between 2016 and 2021.