Crowder hopes for funding with line item veto

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

$375,000 in funds would pay for expansion of campus

The Missouri Legislature may have enough votes Sept. 10 to overturn more than 100 line item vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon, which include an expansion proposal at the Crowder College Cassville Campus.

The proposal in House Bill 2021 would appropriate up to $375,000 from the higher education capital fund for a 50-50 match from the state and local levels toward "planning, design, renovation and construction of the corridors and common space at the Cassville campus."

In the governor's line item veto, Nixon vetoed the entire amount.

The tentative drawings indicate an increased nursing skill lab area, a second science lab, three new classrooms, a larger bookstore and connectivity between the campus buildings, said Angela Seymour, Cassville campus director.

"It would be a phenomenal opportunity," Seymour said. "It is always nice when you can donate knowing that it is automatically doubled."

If the campus could match the maximum appropriated funds from the state, the amount of $750,000 would meet about half of the projected total, she said. The campus has 51 nursing students, and about 50 applicants apply for every 25 openings in the nursing program. The state requires a larger skills lab before the campus can increase nursing enrollment.

Nixon could still decide to not allocate all the money even if the line item veto gets overturned, Seymour said.

Springfield-based Paragon Architecture made the designs. The company designed Davidson Hall on the main Neosho campus, and it designed the 11,300-square-foot multi-purpose Federal Emergency Management Agency Building and Event Center for the Cassville School District.

The Legislature requires 109 Representatives and 23 Senators to override any veto. The House has 108 Republicans, 51 Democrats and four vacant districts. The Senate has 23 Republicans, nine Democrats and two vacant districts.

The House and the Senate are going to try and overturn a lot of the line item vetoes, which include appropriated funds for the Cassville campus and the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mount Vernon, said State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob.

"I think we are going to make a run out of all of those budget items," Fitzpatrick said. "If revenues do stay down, the governor has the ability to withhold that money. In the event that the revenues recover and have a good second half of the year, we want that money to be available because those are things that the Legislature appropriated, and we want to see."

House Bill 2003 would appropriate $10,337,870 to the Missouri Rehabilitation Center -- operated by the University of Missouri -- from the general revenue fund. In the governor's line item veto, Nixon decreased the appropriation to $5,168,935.

State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said he is pretty sure the Legislature will override that line item veto.

"That's pretty important to my district in Lawrence County and Mount Vernon because we've got over 300 jobs there at stake if that hospital closes," he said.

Sater said he still thinks the hospital will eventually close.

"But, if we override the governor's veto, that should send a strong message to the University of Missouri that the state's House and Senate would like to keep that facility opened by overriding the veto," he said.

The center also receives $20 million from the federal government, Sater said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs leases 35,000 square feet from the center as an outpatient clinic for area veterans.

The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks was informed on Aug. 11 that the center will be closed effective Oct. 31, according to a VA press release.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: