New housing, STEM building, and more could be in LU’s future


Photo by Kat Owens

Butler Library closed in 2017, but the 90-year-old building may see new life, according to proposals.

Matt Hampton, News Editor

UPDATED Nov. 14, 2019 at 2:41 p.m. with new comments from vice president of Operations. 

University officials are considering building a new science, technology, engineering, and math building as part of a series of campus improvements which may start as soon as February 2020. 

Lindenwood’s president, John Porter, said the package also includes major renovations to Young Hall, new student housing, the re-opening of Butler Library, and maintenance for campus buildings.  

Porter said not all details of the proposals are set in stone yet.  The first step is an eight- to 12-week feasibility study which will determine the plans’ costs and ways to fund them.  It could cost up to $150 million total, but Porter said the actual cost will probably be closer to $100 million.

He said the proposals are intended to create new opportunities and attract new students, particularly in the popular fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.  

“We get a lot of applications here for students that […] really hear good things about Lindenwood, but sometimes our resources aren’t up to what they like to see, so we don’t retain those students, or those students elect not to come, so we would like to attract more of those,” he said.

The president said Lindenwood is still refining estimates of how much the changes will increase revenue and enrollment.  

STEM Facility and Young Hall

The new STEM building is projected to cost around $80 million on its own, Porter said.  At a potential 162,000 sq. ft., it would be even larger than the 100,000 sq. ft. Library and Academic Resources Center.  

Lindenwood has considered a STEM facility since before Porter became president.  And when the LARC opened in 2017, then-president Michael Shonrock said, “Yes, I have plans for another building.”

Porter said the building will house facilities for the School of Sciences and School of Health Sciences.

“We hope to grow our Health Sciences, and I think we could have great opportunity over there to facilitate equipment and people, and what we’re going to need in order to grow that part of our university,” he said.

Graphic by Matt Hampton

Vice President of Operations Diane Moore said in September that a STEM facility would take two to three years to construct.  

Lindenwood is looking at expanding programs and providing more hands-on learning opportunities, potentially partnering with outside companies, Porter said.

The package also includes plans to renovate Young Science Hall inside and out.  The building is planned as an additional site for STEM programs.

Student Housing

Porter said student residences are 93 percent full, so space could run out if Lindenwood sees an enrollment boom.  Because of this, the construction of townhome-style housing in the area behind the president’s house is on the agenda.  

He said there are areas in Linden Terrace student housing where Lindenwood owns all the homes, and these could be replaced with new housing.  

Residential life sent out a survey last month asking students about their preferences about student apartments.  

Re-opening Butler Library

The old library, which opened in 1929, has been closed since 2017.  

Porter said additions on each side of the building will probably be left for future expansion, but “the original part of Butler Library, we will take it back to its original condition, and really, I think we could use it for a lot of types of events, external and internal.”


Porter talks with Lindenlink News Editor Matt Hampton in June 2019.
Photo by Mia Tebbe

The package also includes money to be spent on campus upkeep that has been postponed from previous years.   

According to Moore, the Operations VP, this deferred maintenance could include the following broad categories:

  1. Maintenance to HVAC systems, fire panels, fire suppression systems, and electrical upgrades.
  2. Upkeep of roofs, gutters, downspouts, and building exteriors, and replacing windows.
  3. Interior finishes: restroom finishes and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance work.

The main part of Butler Hall has been closed since 2018 to allow for deferred maintenance.  Moore said funds to re-open Butler are not being considered. 

“The interior structures would require significant renovations, and the university has not determined the future use of this building,” she said.

The president expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to improve Lindenwood.  

“I’m excited,” Porter said.  “I think folks are excited.  We already have a great campus, a beautiful campus.  I think this is really, really going to take us to the next level.”