Missouri S&T to gather feedback on former Bureau of Mines buildings

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On January 22, 2021

Missouri S&T will gather public comments and hold an open forum on university plans to demolish three buildings known as the Bureau of Mines (BOM) buildings 1, 2 and 3 on the Rolla campus. The public comment period will begin Jan. 25 and close on Feb. 24. Anyone who wants to comment may complete the 2021 BOM survey. The public will also have an opportunity to provide feedback in an open forum 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, through Zoom at umsystem.zoom.us/j/91696454574

“We want to ensure that community members have a chance to give us their comments on our plans for the buildings,” says Ted Ruth, assistant vice chancellor of facilities services at Missouri S&T. “We are part of the Rolla community, and we want to make sure we are inclusive in our campus planning.”

The university has found that the three BOM structures do not meet the school’s needs for space on campus and that the cost to renovate and retain the buildings to meet modern standards would be prohibitive. A facility assessment of BOM 1 completed in 2010 classified the building’s condition as poor and cited several physical deficiencies.

BOM 1 is the largest of the three buildings located south of the Havener Center near the intersection of University Drive and Bishop Ave. The four-story brick building was constructed in 1947 and slightly altered to take its current form in 1950. The building was individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places in April 2017. BOM 2 is a zinc pilot plant constructed in 1944, and building 3 is a core library built in 1945. These buildings have been significantly altered over the years and were ineligible for inclusion on the National Historic Register.

The draft 2020 Campus Master Plan calls for the demolition of all three BOM buildings to make way for new developments on the site. The buildings are in an area identified by the master plan as the new Arrival District, which will provide a formal entrance by reconfiguring University Drive from U.S. Interstate 44 into the center of the S&T campus. These buildings were originally owned by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, a federal agency established in 1910 to conduct research on mineral extraction, processing, use and conservation. An agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Mines closed in 1996, and the university assumed responsibility for the property.

The BOM property would become the site of a new Student Experience Center where S&T will offer student services and experiences to maximize career success, enhance access to health and wellness programs, and improve the first-year student experience. Plans for the new building include an enclosed pedestrian bridge to link the Student Experience Center with the Havener Center. The Havener Center is the student activity center for the campus and houses more than 5,000 events per year that involve students, faculty, staff and the general public. The construction project will also create a new service entrance for Havener to keep delivery vehicles away from pedestrian traffic. 

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11 thoughts on “Missouri S&T to gather feedback on former Bureau of Mines buildings”

  • Warwick W Doll says:

    I’m fine with tearing down the old BOM buildings.

    I have a memory of about 1947-48. I was a boy of about 5 and lived in a duplex owned by my Grandfather Leon E. Woodman who was chairman of the Physics Dept. This duplex was on 13th street beside the access road from 13th to the BOM. Apparently lightning struck the building and I remember the whole top floor burned. As I recall the Rolla fire department had limited equipment to fight a fire that high. Morris Fine lived on the other side of the duplex and was employed by the BOM. He wasn’t able to work for a number of months since his office had been destroyed.

  • Susan Bahr says:

    Keep BOM 1. It is historically significant to the town, the state, and the country. !The building Itself could and should be used to showcase the abilities of this university to upcycle and repurpose a historical building to meet the needs of the 21st century.

  • Carmaleen Magyar says:

    According to what I have read from the article, basically all they want to do is to destroy the three BOM buildings to create a new highway or other facilities and don’t care about the symbolic history behind the three BOM buildings which could be renovated to meet the needs. I guess this is the sign of the times and
    how disappointing for the University and citizens of Phelps County. I appreciate the article and hope voices are heard before it is to late. Thank you for your time.

  • Erica Threnn says:

    These buildings are important to the fabric of the area. Please, I’m begging you, please don’t demolish

  • Cindy Hildebrand says:

    If we always take the least expensive route, we risk our creativity

  • Brian Snyder says:

    Please, do not tear down the historic BOM building. Of all the places for it’s setting, it is embedded in an historic campus of a highly-respected institution for future engineers who will lead the nation in designing, maintaining, and restoring our built environment using principles of conservation and sustainability. There is tremendous embedded energy and a foundation to build upon in this landmark which can provide lessons for future generations. The campus inspired me in the 1970’s as an engineering student to treat our institutions of knowledge and education with respect. Please continue the important stewardship today to further lead and inspire.

  • Valerie Chapple says:

    Don’t tear down BOM S&T campus

  • Robert Tucker says:

    Save the building. Renovate to better usage.

  • Susan wilcox says:

    Once you lose a historical building, you can’t get it back. Embrace the history of your campus.

  • John Carter says:

    I believe that the entire University Drive/New Entrance to the University plan is seriously flawed. Absent a real Hwy. 63 bypass around Rolla, traffic- including tractor trailers – will increase on Bishop Ave. until it looks like Hwys. 63/50 going through Jefferson City today. Putting a traffic circle into even today’s traffic will cause major disruptions. If the current Hwy. E stoplight is removed, a stoplight at the University Drive/Bishop Ave. would make a lot more sense. Tearing down the Bureau of Mines Building should not be considered. It is one of three buildings on campus that actually has character. The Rolla Building and Norwood Hall are the other two.

  • J. says:

    The Rolla Building—built in 1871—shall become the focal point for visitors entering campus. This building is a much more historically significant building to Rolla, University of Missouri Science and Technology, University of Missouri at Rolla, and Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy than the Bureau of Mines buildings. Along with the demolition of the chimneys and a few other aging buildings on campus, I thing this is a much-needed change.