The University of Missouri Technology Park at Fort Leonard Wood opened on 62 acres at the U.S. Army post. It’s the result of a partnership between The University of Missouri, the state of Missouri and the Army, according to Rick Prugh, vice president of innovation and funding development for Missouri Enterprise. The company manages the park, which has 36,000 square feet of office space divided between two buildings.
The concept is similar to a research park the former Joint Powers Authority tried to set up at McClellan. For its effort, the former JPA hired Texas-based Angelou Economics as a consultant, but the plans are on hold, according to former JPA member Pete Conroy.
In 2008, a court dissolved the JPA; Conroy said an appeal of that decision would need to be resolved before a tech park at McClellan could move forward.
The technology park is one of several developments managed by the Missouri Research Park in Chesterfield, Mo., as a part of the University of Missouri system, Prugh said. MRP assistant to the director Kathy Freeman said the tech park site rents mostly to Army contractors.
The list of tenants includes Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Innovative Emergency Management Inc. and Raytheon- L3 Communications.
Prugh said the site employs 150 to 175 people. He said fort leadership wanted the park to provide better employment opportunities for Army spouses and to give the Army “surge space.”
“If they stand up a mission, it gives them a place to rent until they go through the construction time,” he said. “(It usually takes) a few years to get their buildings up. It gives them space to move into.”
The site employs retired military personnel, too. The park is using about six acres of space, Prugh said.
“Now we’re in pretty intense negotiations with a private developer to do a sub-lease from the university to develop other buildings,” he said. “The private developer would be in charge of developing the rest of the park.”
Conroy said the members of the McClellan Development Authority, which replaced the JPA, haven’t given up on a research park as a long-term goal.
“Irrespective of their exact mission, it sounds like an enviable process,” Conroy said. “It sounds like something that should be analyzed to see what aspects of it we can use in our future development.”