Regents Approve Conceptual Design for Student Aquatic Center

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 1, 2005 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a conceptual design and budget for a 28,175-square-foot student aquatic center and directed University officials to proceed with building the facility using the construction management concept.

In related action, the Board approved a resolution that allows certain project costs associated with the aquatic center to be reimbursed with bond proceeds. The Regents also approved a second resolution that allows the University to make arrangements for structuring and issuing the bonds for the $8.3 million facility.

The design calls for the aquatic center to feature a 4,160-square-foot recreational pool and whirlpool surrounded by potted palm trees, along with a 3,780-square-foot six-lane, 25-yard lap pool. The facility also will include an outdoor sundeck, men’s and women’s lockers, a changing area for families, a wet classroom that may be used for aquatics classes and a pool storage area. The facility will be an addition to the Student Recreation Center and will be built north of the newest addition to the Center which opened in 1999. Lori Lynn, director of Campus Life at Southeast, says construction is expected to begin in April, with the facility expected to be completed in April 2007. 

Hastings & Chivetta, a St. Louis company with extensive experience in the design of aquatic centers and the same company that designed the original Student Recreation Center, has been selected as the architectural firm for the project, Lynn said. Over the summer, Hastings & Chivetta conducted two program workshops with students and other constituency groups to gather their input on a proposed design. Based on those workshops, the company shared a proposal Aug. 23 for students and others to review at various locations on campus.

The workshops this summer followed action by the Board of Regents in April in which they authorized the University to proceed with hiring an architect and engaging engineering services to develop a conceptual design and cost estimate for a student aquatic center. The board’s decision came after Student Government approved a resolution last spring to increase the student general fee to support enhancements to campus life, including a new aquatic center to be operated by Recreational Sports.

The decision to increase the general student fee began early in the spring 2005 semester with student focus groups conducted by Dr. Judy Wiles of the Department of Marketing and Management. The Student Senate voted to support the increase in March.

Acting on the Student Government resolution, the Board of Regents in April approved a $2 per credit hour increase in the student general fee, beginning this semester. The Regents also agreed to increase student general fees by $2 for each of the following four years to improve campus life for Southeast students.

Four areas are benefiting from the general student fee increase by receiving increases in their portion of the fee. Of the $2 increase, evening and weekend programming is receiving an additional 40 cents; the Aquatic Center project is receiving 75 cents; student activities is receiving an additional 10 cents; and student athletics is receiving an additional 75 cents.

University officials say the need for an aquatic center has been apparent since the Board of Regents approved a plan to balance the fiscal 2003 budgets which included closing of Parker Pool in October 2002.

Officials said an aquatic center not only would increase recreational options for students, but also would increase the marketability of Southeast for prospective students. Prospective students expect that an institution the size of Southeast would have a modern aquatics center, they say, adding that all comparable universities in the region have some type of an aquatics feature in their recreational sports offerings.

The 75-cent fee increase is providing base funding towards the debt service for the bond issue for the design, site development, construction, operations and furnishings of the aquatic center.