Regents Approve Conceptual Design, Budget for Construction of Autism Center

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Sept. 26, 2008 — The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved the final conceptual design and budget for construction of the Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment.

The approval of the conceptual design and budget for the facility follows action by the Board of Regents in July when they approved the concept of constructing and operating an autism center for diagnosis and treatment on the Southeast campus.

The conceptual design includes 11,582 gross square feet of space and is based on a conventional one-story, brick construction with metal roofing, according to Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration. The facility will be located on the University’s property at the Washington School site, and the design allows for potential future expansion of the facility to the north, she said.

Southeast is working with Mackey Mitchell Architects to design the facility, with input from the University’s project partners and Advisory Committee, according to Mangels. The Advisory Committee includes parents and families of individuals with autism, service providers in the region and school district staff.

Estimated cost of the project is $2.6 million, which includes a 15.5 percent contingency, Mangels said. Funding for the center — $2.6 million — will come from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative. In addition, $494,000 in operating and start-up funds for the center has been allocated for fiscal 2009 through the Department of Mental Health.

The Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment will be a collaborative effort among the University, Judevine Center-Southeast Project and the Tailor Institute, Mangels said. Each partner will have dedicated space to meet their specific diagnosis and treatment service needs. She says the design centers around creating shared spaces that can be scheduled for use by any of the partners. The concept, she says, maximizes space utilization by realizing that each partner may have intermittent need for specific spaces such as therapy rooms. By sharing these spaces, she said, the center will maximize the number of individuals who can be served in the region.

Mangels says memorandums of understanding are being finalized with each partner that outline lease rates for dedicated and shared use spaces, information sharing protocols and administration of the facility. A working relationship with the University of Missouri-Columbia Thompson Center also is being discussed, she said.