Regents Approve Plans to Refurbish, Make Minor Renovations to University Center

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 26, 2004 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a plan to refurbish and make minor renovations to the University Center.

The plan is designed to provide more student-centered spaces and improve the ambience of the building, said Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president for administration and enrollment management. The enhancements will begin this summer, with all phases to be completed by summer 2005.

Under the approved plan, Textbook Services will move from its current location on the second floor of the University Center to its former location on the first floor of Kent Library. A Student Organization Complex will be created on the second floor of the University Center, offering an open, student-friendly design to accommodate Student Government, Student Activities Council, Inter-fraternity Council, National Panhellenic Council (NPC), National Pan-Hellenic (NPHC) individual chapter offices, and work and office space for some of the more than 100 student organizations, Holt said. The plan also calls for moving Minority Student Programs, including the new McNair Scholars Grant offices, from the third floor of the University Center and consolidating them with the offices of the Dean of Students on the fourth floor. The computer lab will be relocated within the open design of the Student Organizations Complex, he said. The interiors also will be refurbished, and external entrances will be enhanced, he added.

Total cost of the project is estimated at between $550,000 and $600,000. In October 2002, the University Center paid the last portion of its obligation for the 1993 housing bonds, Holt said. The $70,000 per year base funding used to service this debt will be used to fund the project via an internal loan from the fund balance, he said.

Holt told the Board the University Center, at the corner of Henderson Street and Normal Avenue, is at the heart of campus life. It is a place where students, faculty and staff gather together for committee meetings, campus and community events, dining, shopping at Southeast Bookstore, and informal conversation. The University Center also is home for the offices of the Student Government Association, the Student Activities council and a student computer lab, as well as the offices of the Dean of Students, student judicial affairs and Student Support Services, including Minority Student Programs and the Learning Enrichment Center, he said.

“The success of Skylight Terrace demonstrates the potential of the University Center to be a vital destination of choice for students, the campus and the community,” Holt said. “University centers are a point of sale for campus visits by prospective students, and it is for this reason that many colleges and universities are investing in construction or renovation of their campus centers.”

Holt said a planning committee of students, faculty and staff representatives was formed to make recommendations on how best to build on the success of the Skylight Terrace project with the aim of increasing the University Center’s appeal to students, improving student services, providing better facilities for more student organizations, and refreshing the Center’s general appearance.

Last fall, targeted student forums and open campus forums were held to gather feedback on key concepts and suggestions from students and staff, Holt said. Based on that feedback, a final proposal was developed and shared with students earlier this semester.