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City, university, and chamber to partner, create Center for Excellence

The former Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) facility, located at the corner of Howell Avenue and Jackie D. Garrett Drive, will soon house certain Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) offices and the Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce.
The courses previously taught at the GOCAT facility have moved to the new Pace Industrial Center on the university’s main campus. MSU-WP will transition its use of the facility to include its physical plant, purchasing department, and Small Business Development Center office. 
“Missouri State-West Plains appreciates the continued support of the City of West Plains in all that we do to serve our students and our community,” said Missouri State University-West Plains Chancellor Dennis Lancaster. “While our needs for the facility have changed, we are excited that, first, we have a more public-facing space for Mel Steele and our Small Business Development Center, and, second, that we will be sharing this uniquely positioned building in town with our Chamber partners.
Discussions among the university, the city, and the chamber of commerce led to a concept of utilizing the remaining space for the relocation of chamber offices. The chamber’s current office is located at 401 Jefferson Avenue.
“The Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce is excited for the partnership with the City of West Plains and Missouri State University-West Plains and the opportunities that lie ahead,” said chamber director Jessica Collins. “Strong partnerships are the basis for success. It is gratifying to see years of discussions finally come to fruition.  Enhancing the opportunities for grants and coordinated growth, collaboration is a key component to our community’s future success. West Plains will continue to be a great place to live and work.” 
The agreement to utilize the city-owned property would allow the chamber to focus its resources on renovation of their share of the facility and to increase opportunities for collaboration with other entities in the economic development and nonprofit sectors. Together, the city, university, and chamber would establish through this agreement a Center for Excellence, placing efforts that impact local and regional economic development under one roof with a shared mission to support the vitality and growth of the community. 
“I know that together, the three of us – the City, Chamber and University – will bring a greater synergy to economic development for our community and our region,” said Lancaster.
The university is currently in the process of relocating its offices and the chamber has listed its current building for sale and is taking bids for renovations.
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Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
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