MCC breaks ground on Agriculture Annex, with plans to expand ag course offerings

May 06, 2024 | Mary Beth Hope

Officials including MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, center, take part in the ceremonial groundbreaking for the MCC- Maple Woods Agriculture Annex.

Metropolitan Community College held a ceremonial groundbreaking April 26 to celebrate the imminent construction of the MCC-Maple Woods Agriculture Annex on the campus in Kansas City North.

The $6.8 million, 9,366-square-foot facility, expected to be completed by year’s end, will house MCC’s newly expanded agriculture program. The theme for the Arbor Day groundbreaking was “Rooted in Learning, Growing for Tomorrow.”

“Here at the MCC-Maple Woods Agriculture Annex, we will proudly provide vital agriculture programming in a learning environment that is without a doubt second to none,” MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said at the event. “And, as always, our students can expect to work with top faculty in their fields.”

MCC-Maple Woods began offering agriculture courses in Fall 2021 and has continued to add courses each semester since. Students will now be able to pursue an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) in agriculture degree with emphasis options in agribusiness, plant science and animal science. Maple Woods is also home to a popular and highly regarded veterinary technology program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023.

One in 10 Missouri jobs is in agriculture, and agribusiness contributes $93 billion each year to the state’s economy, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Kansas City is a vital part of the Animal Health Corridor, which has emerged over the past 15 years in the area spanning Lawrence, Kansas, to Columbia, Missouri, and accounts for nearly 60% of the world’s animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales.

“This is an exciting time to be a part of the Maple Woods campus and the entire Northland area,” says Ellen Crowe, Maple Woods’ interim president. “The Agriculture Annex represents the growth and development occurring in our region.”

She said the new facility — featuring a 2,100-square-foot greenhouse, large lecture hall and laboratory classroom — will provide plenty of space for hands-on learning and incorporation of modern technology. Designers also included multipurpose space that can be used for other classes and events.

Agriculture Annex

Lead architect for the project is Clark & Enersen. The general contractor is Universal Construction.

Crowe said partnerships with area school districts have been instrumental in the development of the ag program. MCC has teamed with the Platte County School District’s Northland Career Center (serving Smithville, Liberty, North Kansas City and other K-12 school districts) to offer an early college academy through which students can earn an associate degree along with their high school diploma. Dual-credit opportunities are also available.

The project was funded by both public and private resources: $5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA); $850,000 from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, part of which provides for investment in animal and plant health programs and agriculture research; $500,000 from Missouri’s MoExcels program for employer-driven education and training initiatives; and $500,000 from a joint gift from Kemper Family Foundations, UMB Bank n.a., trustee, and Kearney Wornall Foundation, UMB Bank n.a., trustee.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District was on hand at the groundbreaking to present a ceremonial check for the funds allocated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

“The Maple Woods campus has always stood out in the Northland in providing an excellent academic experience due to our outstanding staff and faculty,” Crowe says. “The new Ag Annex allows us to widen our positive impact on our community.”