Southeast Residence Halls to Have New Look in Fall

Southeast Missouri State University students planning to live on campus in the fall are in for a surprise . . . aside from having to do their own laundry.

This summer, Southeast’s Office of Residence Life is working to refurbish and upgrade some of its residence halls to make the on-campus lifestyle safer, more convenient and more student-friendly. Paric Construction is serving as the general contractor for the $2.1 million refurbishing project, with Zoellner Construction serving as sub-contractor.

One of the main areas of concentration is Towers South. Old furnishings such as desks, chairs, beds and mattresses have been removed by Residence Life staff this summer to make way for more modern moveable furniture and new mattresses, said Bruce Skinner, associate director of Residence Life. The layout of the rooms and floors will remain largely the same, however, renovations to areas such as the shower rooms and new lounge furnishings will bring an entirely new feel to the residence hall.

Beginning in mid-July, new carpet and tile will be installed in hallways and student lounges to finish the transformation of these common areas, he said. Another important addition is the installation of a building wide sprinkler system in Towers South. Installation of piping for this system currently is under way, he said, by Western Kentucky Sprinkler Co. of Paducah.

“‘It is often overlooked, but sprinkler systems are an important step in continuing to improve the safety and security of our residence hall students,”‘ Skinner said. 

He said a similar renovation effort in Towers East is planned for summer 2005 when it will receive new room furniture, new hallway carpet, plumbing and sprinkler upgrades, and new doors in bath and shower areas.

Also being upgraded this summer are Dearmont and Cheney halls, which are being outfitted with new room and lounge furniture, and Towers North, West and East, which are receiving new lounge furnishings. Skinner says all old furnishings in these areas have been removed with new furnishings expected to arrive July 19. 

Work also is under way to replace the roofs on Towers North and East. Removal of the existing roof on Towers East is now in its third week, and roofing work will begin soon on Towers North, he said.

“‘These projects are not as visible as new furnishings or carpet,”‘ he said, “‘but will continue to guarantee a trouble-free and dry living environment for residence hall students.”‘

Also this summer, the Office of Residence Life is relocating from Dearmont Hall to the first floor of the Towers Complex. The new office will be located in the former Greek student office complex in the southeast corner of the building. The Greek student offices are being vacated and relocated to the University Center, where a student organization complex is being created on the second floor of that building.

Debbie Below, Southeast director of enrollment management, said the Office of Residence Life will begin moving in mid-July and will be fully shifted to its new location by Aug. 10.

One of the most exciting changes for residence hall students will be the addition later this summer of a convenience store operated by Chartwells in the University Club area. Below said students will be able to use their flex dollars through their meal plan to purchase convenient and frozen foods, drinks and personal care items in the store.

Below said the convenience store will be installed as part of the first phase of renovations to the front area of the University Center. She said work on the main entrance area to the building will likely begin in early fall in an effort to improve the ambience on the front of the building.

“‘The Office of Residence Life is very excited to continue the efforts towards improving our residence hall communities,”‘ Skinner said. “‘Having outstanding facilities and housing amenities are fundamental to recruiting and retaining residence hall students. The changes taking place this summer are an important step in making the residence halls at Southeast Missouri State a great place to live”‘

The upgrades this summer in Southeast’s residence halls are part of Residence Life’s facility improvement plan developed and adopted in 2001, Skinner said. Funds for the projects are being drawn from Residence Life’s annual budget for facility improvements and the Residence Life fund balance.

Southeast houses about 2,600 students in nine residence halls that offer a wide range of housing options. From the traditional Cheney Hall, built in 1939, to New Hall, which opened in fall 2002, students are able to find the best fit for their academic and personal needs, Skinner said. Some of these communities offer special interest floors that group students together who share the same major or who have similar academic interests. All residence halls have access to high-speed internet, cable television, computer labs, lounges and laundry facilities.