Recently Modernized Center for Student Involvement Recognized in National Design Competition


Photo of Michelle Brune, Angela Meyer, Neil Zlokovich and Michele Irby

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 10, 2008 – The new look of Southeast Missouri State University’s Center for Student Involvement was featured as an “outstanding design” in the November edition of Penton Media’s American School & University (AS&U) 2007 Architectural Portfolio.

The Center was featured in the magazine and on the Web at The annual competition honors education design excellence and spotlights projects representing some of the most effective learning environments in America.

A jury of American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education members and education administrators evaluated submissions from architectural firms, schools and universities across the country. Two hundred thirty-four projects were chosen for publication in AS&U, a monthly educational facilities, purchasing and business administration magazine reaching 65,000 facility planners, school and university administrators and architects. This is the 25th year the competition has been held.

Featured projects included designs that consider security and student safety, plan for technology, and incorporate aesthetics, technology and function to work together at a cost that makes sense over the life of the building. The jury considered innovation, sustainability/maintainability, safety/security, image/aesthetics and life-cycle costs when selecting the winners.

Michelle Brune, Southeast assistant professor of human environmental studies, submitted the project as a team design under the “Renovation/Modernization” category. She said a team of her interior design students, Facilities Management employees and McClure Engineering Associates staff members are responsible for the look of the redesigned Center for Student Involvement that opened in November 2005 on the second floor of the University Center.

Neil Zlokovich of Southeast’s Facilities Management served as the project manager, and Angela Meyer, associate director of Facilities Management’s design and construction, supervised construction at the site by a Facilities Management crew.

“Neil and Angela were both instrumental in the design of the space,” Brune said. “They attended several class sessions with students, critiqued their designs, and answered questions about the project.”

Brune said she submitted “before” and “after” photos of the recently renovated space along with a complete portfolio detailing the renovation process as a part of the magazine competition.

“I think the ‘before’ photos make an incredible statement about the renovation of this space,” she said.

The redesigned Center now offers an open, student-friendly office space that houses Student Government, Student Activities Council, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, Pan-Hellenic Council, Emerging Leaders, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Phi Omega, the student representative to the Board of Regents and the Student Judicial Advocate.

The 5,759-square-foot area, which encompasses 13 offices and has a modern look and feel to it, also features a computer bar – a long counter, where laptop computers with wireless connections may be used, and a conference room. The Center’s design includes the use of bold colors, curved walls, exposed ceilings and ductwork, and unique flooring and furniture designs.

The Center brings together Southeast’s student organizations into one centralized location. In the past, offices were scattered across a number of locations on campus. Southeast officials say the design of the new center is a result of significant student input.

“I couldn’t be more pleased about the completed space,” said Michele Irby, director of Campus Life. “It contains all of the functional elements that students requested during our focus groups while still maintaining a contemporary feel. Bringing all of these student organizations’ offices into one space has allowed us to create a working community of key student leaders. This is of great benefit to the entire student body of Southeast.”

An interior design class at Southeast taught by Brune contributed significantly to the design of the space.

“We actually had the student body vote on their favorite design, and then we used it to create the space,” Irby said. “It was a great hands-on learning opportunity for the students in that class.”

Architectural work on the Center was done by Southeast’s Facilities Management. HVAC and mechanical work was done by Associated Sheet Metal. Total cost of the project was $1.1 million.

The space formerly housed Southeast’s textbook rental program and originally was a bowling alley when the University Center was built in 1975.