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June 28, 2012

Board to Consider Raises this Morning

Missouri Southern State University employees may soon receive a 3 percent raise, after the MSSU Board of Governors’ Budget and Audit Committee approved a recommendation Tuesday evening to raise employees’ pay for the first time in nearly five years.

Members of the Budget and Audit Committee met with MSSU administrators to discuss the state budget, which was signed into effect last Friday by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. The budget awards MSSU a net appropriation of $21.9 million, which is 30 percent of the university’s total revenue.

After discussing a variety of financial scenarios, the committee voted to approve MSSU administrators’ recommendation that raises be given to all the university’s eligible employees. This recommendation will be formally presented to the full Board of Governors on Thursday during a Board conference call in the MSSU President’s office. An official decision is expected at that time.

"We are very pleased to be able to make this recommendation," said Rod Anderson, chairman of the Board Budget Committee. "There’s no question we need to retain the talented people we have and be more competitive in attracting new faculty and staff, as well."

This year’s budget is significantly brighter than originally predicted. Earlier this year, the Governor had proposed a 7.8 percent reduction in state appropriations to Missouri colleges and universities. For MSSU, that would have meant an approximate $1.7 million reduction in funds.

But with the House and Senate recommending schools be funded at the same amount they were last year – as well as the inclusion of the additional equity funding – the Governor compromised by withholding 1 percent from universities’ core budgets and 10 percent from the recommended equity funding.

At the May meeting of MSSU’s Board of Governors, members approved a budget that reflected the anticipated $1.7 million cut, praising administrators for taking the difficult but necessary steps to keep the university’s finances balanced.

Now faced with a better financial outlook than was anticipated, the committee listened to the recommendations of President Bruce Speck as he discussed the importance of compensating employees.

"Our faculty and staff are the heartbeat of this university," Speck said. "We are all here for one thing – to serve our students. But to be good servants and to do our best work, we must feel valued. Using part of the funding to increase compensation is a way to say thank you to our employees for their hard work and dedication to the university. And that’s what we hope the Board will do."

With the university on the cusp of a new fiscal year, the 3 percent raise, if formally approved Thursday, will take effect July 1 for eligible employees. In addition, faculty who received promotions this spring will be awarded the full promotion amount in fiscal year 2013. Earlier in the year the board members had voted to phase the promotions in over three years because of budget concerns.

Hearnes Hall Ribbon Cutting, Open House

hearnes opening

The public saw the results of a major renovation of Hearnes Hall at a Joplin Chamber ribbon cutting and open house on Tuesday, June 26. 
 
MSSU faculty, staff, students, Chamber of Commerce members and the general public were invited.

The project is one part of Missouri Southern’s new master plan.
 
“This renovation project allows us to offer a one stop shop to better serve our students,” Missouri Southern president, Dr. Bruce Speck explained. “We think this is a very good thing and will serve us very well in the future.”

A  new “front door” has been created in Hearnes Hall. The completely new and contemporary office space features a three-story atrium with a glass walled entrance.
 
Entering the building from the south side, students and visitors are greeted by a terrazzo floor with a green and gold Lion head in the center of the spacious, multi-story atrium. 

The main corridor features a cloud ceiling with frosted glass walls and doors that open into each suite.  Next to each entrance are flat-screen TV monitors that stream continuous live information and announcements. In addition, the 40-year-old heating, air conditioning and lighting is being replaced with energy efficient systems.
 
Construction on the renovation was done by the Bales Construction Company. Architects from Ness Design Group Architects of Joplin designed the space.

Rob Yust, vice president for Business Affairs at Missouri Southern, says the cost of the project, including construction and furnishings, amounts to about $2.1 million.

Program to Focus on Carver National Monument

The upcoming edition of the Newsmakers interview program will focus on the George Washington Carver National Monument and plans for the 69th annual Carver Day Celebration.  

National Park Ranger Curtis Gregory will share information about the event, planned for 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. 

He also will provide information about ongoing park activities.
 
The program may be seen at the following times on KGCS-TV:

Mon., July 2 – 9:30 p.m.
Tues., July 3 – 9:30 p.m.
Sun., July 8 – 5:30 p.m.
Mon., July 9 – 5:30 p.m.
Tues., July 10 – 5:30 p.m.
Wed., July 11 – 5:30 p.m.
Thurs., July 12 – 5:30 p.m.
 
It also will air at 5:30 a.m. the morning of July 14 on KOAM-TV.
 
Newsmakers is produced by KGCS-TV, a service of the Department of Communication. KGCS programming may be seen over the air on digital channel 22 and on regional cable television systems such as Cable One, Mediacom and Suddenlink. 

Design Competition for Cunningham Park Mural

The design that wins a contest sponsored by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce will become a part of the fabric of rebuilt Joplin.
 
The winning design will provide the image for a tile mural that will encompass the entire back wall of the pool house at Joplin’s Cunningham Park.
 
The contest began with graphic art students at Missouri Southern State University being asked to submit designs for the mural.
 
Chamber representatives then narrowed the submissions down to three. The finalists are Sarah Hall, Eldorado Springs, Emma Gustavsson, Joplin, and Debrah Schmidt, Monett.
 
This Friday, June 29, following a 10 a.m. news conference in Cunningham Park, the three designs will be placed on websites.  Chamber members will then vote for the best design. 

Read more.

Quick Action Taken to Contain Leak

Quick action was taken by MSSU maintenance technicians and supervisors early Wednesday morning after a main gas feed serving Kuhn Hall was damaged and began to leak.  

The regulator had been accidentally dislocated from meter piping allowing a two-inch stream of high pressure natural gas to escape.  After being informed of the leak by Grounds Supervisor Steve Jordan, Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor Mike Fox arrived on the scene. 

MGE was contacted but in the meantime several other employees appeared. Fox says “I initially tried to shut off the meter with the tools I had but found I was unable to turn the isolation valve by myself. At this time Robert Frossard and Jerry Robertson arrived. Frossard had brought a larger shut off tool and without regard for his own personal safety, assisted me in shutting off the gas flow.”

Fox says that Robertson and Frossard, both maintenance technicians, assisted with the containment of the leak, preventing a possible gas explosion. "Their actions went above and beyond what is expected of even the most dedicated employees," Fox states.

Also assisting that morning was Craig Richardson, Safety Compliance Officer.

Registration for SouthernFest '12 Now Open.

Registration for SouthernFest '12 is now open!  The fourth annual event is scheduled for August 2-3.  Aaron Lewis, Athletics, says the Lion Pride Dinner/Auction will again be held at Downstream Casino Resort's outdoor pavilion on Thursday night, August 2nd.  The Rod Smith Green & Gold Golf Classic will be the following day, Friday, Aug. 3 at Eagle Creek Golf Course. 

Our online home for SouthernFest is up and running and can be accessed by clicking here or by going to www.mssulions.com and clicking on the SouthernFest button on the right hand side.  There you will find online registration, a printable registration form, an auction item donation form, video and pictures from last year's events, and a link for special rates on room reservations at Downstream.

Tickets to the dinner/auction are $40.  Individual playing spots in the golf tourney are $125 or $500 for a four-person team.  There are also various sponsorship levels available that combine publicity opportunities with golf and dinner/auction tickets.  You can view these sponsorship levels on the SouthernFest online site.   

Key to growing this event even more is acquiring great auction items.  As Lions fans, even if you can't attend the event you can contribute by thinking about who you know that might be able to donate such items as tickets to sporting events, cultural events or other experiences, vacation stays at condos or timeshares, electronic or home improvement items, or whatever else your imagination can come up with.  All auction item donors will receive charitable gift receipts from the MSSU Foundation. 

Downstream is again the title sponsor. Supporting partners are Arvest Bank, Contractors' Equipment Company, Hiland Dairy Foods and Beimdiek Insurance. 

Any questions concerning SouthernFest '12 should be addressed to Aaron Lewis at lewis-a@mssu.edu or 417.625.3075 or to Kate Mata at mata-k@mssu.edu  or 625.3576.

Southern Service Champ Nominations

The Staff Senate is seeking nominations for the Southern Service Champ Award for the April 1 - June 30 quarter. 

The Southern Service Champ Award is a quarterly award given to one outstanding member from classified, physical plant and professional staff.  Award winners are selected based on nominations from staff.  Those nominated must meet at least one of the five pads of the lion paw:  Respect to campus community, Positive attitude, Pride in work, Exemplary dependability and Excellence in customer service. 

Nominations forms are available on the Staff Senate webpage and can be submitted online or hard copy. 

The deadline to submit nominations is June 30. 

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