The American School and University magazine selected Missouri Southern’s Lion Cub Academy as one of the Outstanding Design recipients for the 2018 Educational Interiors Showcase.

The premier competition honoring education interior excellence, the LCA was selected by judges to be among the designs featured in the magazine’s August issue.

Designed by Paragon Architecture, the 10,736-square-foot center offers a hands-on learning environment for early childhood education students, helping them learn the best educational practices and develop appropriate curriculum. The design features a natural outdoor classroom and dedicated spaces for art, music and science.

“We were excited to learn that Paragon received the award,” said Nikki Tappana, director of the center. “Our students and the children we care for here have the best facility to enhance their educational experiences.”

While the center received recognition for the interior design, the outdoor classroom and equipment are also stand-out features.

There will soon be an addition to the playground equipment offered at the center thanks to a fundraising effort by a local community organization.

The effort to raise $15,000 for an OmniSpin Spinner was launched this summer by Leadership Joplin. The merry-go-round is designed to be wheelchair and walker accessible. Cody Chaffin, a member of the current Leadership Joplin class, said he was moved to launch a fundraiser for the OmniSpin Spinner after taking a tour of the LCA.

“When I thought on it, the purpose of Leadership Joplin is not only to become more aware of our community but to increase that awareness,” Chaffin said. “I thought it was a good idea to challenge myself and others in the Class of 2018 to embrace the spirit of community and see what we could do.”