Drury University takes next step in campus master plan process with purchase of Autotronics gas station property 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 4, 2018 —In Drury University’s first major step toward realizing its vision for the 25-year campus master plan, Drury has finalized the purchase of prime property on the corner of Benton Avenue and Chestnut Expressway.

The 1.5-acre property located at 700 and 730 N. Benton Ave. has been the site of multiple businesses owned by the Phil and Marilyn Swanson family for the last 33 years. The sale agreement between Drury and the Swansons allows for a transition period of several months. This will provide the Swansons time to assist in re-employing the staff and relocating their businesses.

Ozark Mountain Gourmet Popcorn intends to relocate to a refurbished facility on historic Commercial Street. The “home-style” fresh deli food business and Dr. Phil’s Glenstone Motor Company used vehicle sales will both move to the Swansons’ other business location at 3328 N. Glenstone Ave., just north of Metro Appliances & More. It will undergo a major remodel. 

“This is a ‘win’ for both Drury and the Swansons,” says David Hinson, Drury’s chief of staff, chief operating officer, and chief information officer. “Phil and Marilyn have had a number of opportunities to sell their property over the years. However, they have long believed that Drury and Springfield would benefit most from an acquisition by the university. The time was right for both parties to make that happen.”

Although a specific use for the property has not yet been determined, Drury’s 25-year master plan framework allows for possible expansion of academic buildings in this space and calls for more well-defined borders and thresholds around the perimeter of the 99-acre campus. Immediate plans are to turn the corner property into a green space following the professional removal of underground fuel tanks in June and the razing of the buildings later this year.

“This purchase is an important first step in helping us realize our ambitious vision for the future of the Drury University campus,” says Drury president Dr. J. Timothy Cloyd. “A highly visible piece of land, we anticipate that it will become a major gateway into the university and a focal point for the ways in which our master plan calls for us to marry form and function in the service of our academic mission.”

No tuition-based operational funding will be used for the purchase. Purchase of the property is made possible through the generous philanthropy of the Swanson family, and through private donations to Drury’s Futures Fund, which is designated to fund the initial steps of the university’s current strategic initiatives such as the master plan process and designing a new academic platform that will define the Drury experience for all students.

“We are excited about the possibilities for this space,” says David Hinson, Drury’s chief of staff, chief operating officer, and chief information officer. “It’s important to note that our master plan by and large does not call for expanding the footprint of our campus. This space is one area in which it makes sense for us to do so, and we look forward to working with our campus community and our donor base to determine the best possible use for the land as we re-imagine what Drury University can and will be in the decades ahead.”

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Media Contact: Mike Brothers, Executive Director of University Relations - (417) 873-7390 or mikebrothers@drury.edu

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