Introduction to the History of the Missouri Southern Campus
Missouri Southern began making the transition from junior college to 4-year college in 1964. In desperate need of space at their 8th and Wall Street location in Joplin, the school needed room to expand. The school looked at a number of properties throughout Joplin, but eventually settled on the properties surrounding the intersection of Newman and Duquesne Roads in Joplin. These properties were purchased from Frank and Juanita Wallower on July 20, 1964. Work would not start on any of the properties until February of 1966, when construction began on the library building.
The Missouri Southern Board of Trustees' plans for creation of the campus included the initial construction of four buildings they deemed key to the function of the college. These buildings were the library, a science and mathematics building, a classroom and administration building, and a community center. These plans were altered when the Spiva Art Center offered to help build a fine arts complex that would provide both a location for the Art department on campus as well as a storage and exhibit hall for the Spiva Art Center's own collections. The first buildings completed on campus were, chronologically, the library (George A. Spiva Library), the classroom and administrative building (Hearnes Hall), the science and mathematics building (Reynolds Hall), and the fine arts complex (Spiva Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Complex). Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium would not be completed until 1968, with Billingsly Student Center and Kuhn Hall (then the home of the Health Education department) following behind in 1969.
An aerial view of the Missouri Southern campus in 1967. Hearnes Hall, Spiva Library and Reynolds Hall are visible within the Oval. The Fine Arts building is visible to the left of the Oval and Young Gymnasium is under construction in the distance.
Below is a a QR code to help easily access the walking tour!
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