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While the origin of the idea for Innovation Park is difficult to pinpoint, the concept for a research park on the Rolla campus has been a topic of discussion on campus for over 10 years. In October 2006, Chancellor John F. Carney III formally proposed the idea of a research park on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) to be located on the current site of the campus golf course. A plan was presented to The Board of Curators which it approved at an open meeting on the Missouri S&T campus in April 2007. Shortly thereafter, in June 2007, the city of Rolla and Phelps County held public meetings, as required by statute, to gather input on the master plan and covenants. All comments were gathered and sent directly to the Board of Curators which approved the Master Plan and Covenants in July 2007.
Innovation Park will help achieve this goal to solidify Missouri S&T's place as one of the top five technology universities in the nation. Most, if not all, top ranked universities are affiliated with some type of research park which is also a crucial component of their respective economic development efforts. This component is something that has been lacking at Missouri S&T.
The golf course at Missouri University of Science and Technology is an approximately 60 acre site adjacent to the Missouri S&T athletic complex, approximately one-half mile from the main campus, within the city limits of Rolla. At its April 2007 meeting, the Board of Curators approved the designation for the golf course as a research park pursuant to Statute 172.273 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.
With the expansion of economic development as the fourth mission of the University, the Rolla campus has sought a location to expand its strong connection with private industry as well as provide a location for long term growth of the academic and research facilities of the campus. Innovation Park will serve as a mixed academic and private research park focused on the core strengths of Missouri S&T in materials, energy, information systems, and advanced manufacturing, but also serve as a site for all Missouri S&T discoveries to do business.
The extent to which the park develops will be determined by the marketplace. The research park will be a joint project between the University of Missouri Office of Research and Economic Development and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
To implement this Master Plan, the University has adopted Protective Covenants to guide the development of the park such that it complements the University campus and strengthens the surrounding communities.