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Boonville project gets high marks

Robert Stinnett
Creative Commons/Flickr

A redevelopment project of a former military school in Boonville is receiving a national award for excellence. The steering committee for “Kemper Military School Redevelopment Project” is receiving the award from the University Economic Development Association for repurposing 46-acres of land where Kemper Military School stands.

The school closed in 2002, but part of the repurposing project included the opening of State Fair Community College in its place. The school began its first academic year in September 2012. Jim Gann is Director of the University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at MU and is the project’s director. He said the award is an honor because it was chosen amongst many other projects.

“The most interesting thing about this award is it was chosen by peer review rather than by a committee somewhere making decisions about what was worthy,” said Gann.

City of Boonville Mayor, Julie Thacher said the award will help keep the city pushing forward.

“You know, it just kind of makes you feel good, it lets you know that what you’re doing is maybe on the right track, and gives you a little impetus to keep on going,” said Thacher.

Under the project, land not used by the new college was converted to green space and sports fields in 2003. It is also leased to Boonslick Hartland YMCA. State Fair’s enrollment is currently at 70 students, but project leaders hope to reach an enrollment of more than 100 in the coming years.