Robin Carnahan, Congressman Cleaver, Mayor Lucas, GSA Tour UMKC's High-Tech Research Center

The group saw insights into UMKC's environmentally friendly emerging technologies

Former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Mayor Quinton Lucas and members of the General Services Administration toured the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center to learn more about how UMKC's research on renewable energy could be used in government facilities.

The goal of the group's visit was for the GSA to learn more about emerging technologies at UMKC and how ongoing research here could assist the federal government in making federal buildings greener. Led by Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and School of Science and Engineering Dean Kevin Truman, they also had an opportunity to see the solar panels on the roof of the Plaster Center and hear first-hand from students about their work.

"It's always a pleasure to visit UMKC," Carnahan said. "A lot of people think that if we are going to combat climate change it's going to be by planting trees. But really what it comes down to is looking at different ways we can reimagine basic construction materials like concrete and asphalt, and they are doing a lot of that great research right here."

The Plaster Center, which opened in fall of 2021, is a $32 million, five-story, 57,800 square-foot high-tech research center. It features 11 state-of-the-art research labs and is the largest privately funded capital project in UMKC history, with more than 25 donors.

The labs within the Plaster Center contain a 3D printing lab and fabrication studio to build prototypes, high-performing computing and analytics equipment and software, an FAA-approved flight simulator, a two-story drone flight-testing bay and $3 million of augmented and virtual reality equipment.

The labs aren't just for UMKC faculty and students -- the facility is also a community hub where people from across the university, city and region can come together to discuss, design, build and innovate while propelling economic activity in the region through free enterprise.

Some of the technology within the labs is not available anywhere else in Kansas City, allowing UMKC to remain state-of-the-art in research and education while helping our community partners do the same.

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Published: Oct 13, 2022