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St. Mary’s campus may be future home for higher education

Associated Industries of Missouri member SSM Health Care will open a brand new hospital in Jefferson City at the end of 2014, but its current campus could become the home for training the next generation of health care professionals.

When the new hospital opens later this year, SSM will be vacating the downtown Jefferson City site that St. Mary’s Hospital has occupied since 1905. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon proposed this week that the state acquire and renovate the property, turning the buildings and classrooms into other training facilities for Lincoln University. The site would be used to educate and train students for in-demand fields, such as nursing.

The proposal enables St. Mary’s and SSM Health Care to open the new hospital while also ensuring that the existing campus is repurposed for future development.

“SSM Health Care is honored to be able to work with the state to further the advanced education of future health care workers,” said Brent VanConia, President of St. Mary’s Health Center and President of SSM Health Care Mid-Missouri Region. “We are proud members of this great community and are looking forward to building a better way to health with the opening of our new hospital. Having our current site turned into an investment in higher education would be another step in improving the health of our community.”

“Lincoln University is committed to providing our students with a high quality education that prepares them for good jobs in high demand fields,” said Dr. Kevin Rome, President of Lincoln University. “This strategic investment by the State of Missouri will enhance our ability to provide students with career-ready skills and this community with highly skilled workers.”

News reports indicate Governor Nixon has set aside $10 million for the Office of Administration to acquire and renovate a portion of the facility, as well as to purchase necessary equipment for development. A release from his office says this appropriation is a part of his Fiscal Year 2015 budget which will be presented to the General Assembly this evening (January 21).

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