Let's say you want to build the best biomedical research facility, bar none. The catch is, it will be in Kansas City. Can you still hope to lure top scientists away from their prestigious postings in world capitals to an untested center in Missouri? Philanthropists Virginia Stowers and James Stowers Jr. think so. And they have a plan to make it happen.

On 10 acres across the street from the University of Missouri, the foundations already are being laid for their six-story, 594,000-square-foot Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the first phase of which will open in the year 2000. Construction is being financed by $125 million in tax-free municipal bonds. That expenditure alone won't fill the site with quality researchers, but what could do the trick is the institute's $335 million endowment, intended to eventually provide about 600 scientists with freedom from the necessity to compete for research grants.


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