Regents Approve Renovations at Church Building, Continued Development of University Commons, Design Development of Campus Corridor


Photo of Academic Hall

The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a plan for an expanded and improved alumni center to house the University Advancement division and Southeast Missouri University Foundation.


Oct. 26, 2006 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a plan for an expanded and improved alumni center to house the University Advancement division and Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Two other changes in facilities were also approved at the Board’s meeting in St. Louis — design development on the campus corridor between Rhodes and Cheney Drive, and the second and third phases of the Information Commons project in Kent Library.

The new University Advancement facility will be created by constructing a second floor entrance and renovating the interior of the former First Baptist Church sanctuary building, which was acquired by the University three years ago.  When the renovation is completed, Southeast’s Advancement, Foundation and Alumni Services units will move from their present quarters in the Wehking Building just east of the Show Me Center.

The renovations to the First Baptist Church sanctuary building on Broadway will be the final phase of improvements at the site and will also provide enhanced space for University Athletics, said Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president for administration and enrollment management.

Southeast purchased the church property in May 2003 to increase student parking, expand opportunities for student recreational sports, provide space for an Innovation Center, enlarged and improved facilities for University Advancement, and enhanced space for Athletics. Since then, most of the proposed uses have been implemented except for space enhancements for Athletics and renovation of space for University Advancement.

This fall, the University contracted with HKW Architects to develop plans for renovating space for University Advancement with the intent to create a “front door” entrance facing Broadway for the Advancement offices, Holt said.

Plans call for creating an exterior stepped up entrance to the second floor from the west side, including an exterior plaza stepped up from the main parking lot and suitable for alumni gatherings. Interior work will include painting, finishing wood flooring, installing new drop ceilings, renovating restrooms for ADA accessibility and upgrading electrical and mechanical work. Estimated cost of the project is $1.1 million, to be covered with donated funds, rental revenue, Athletics Department funds, and renovation funds previously approved by the Board.

Campus CorridorAlso today, the Regents approved design development and phased construction on the campus corridor between Rhodes Hall of Science and Cheney Drive. The central corridor runs from Cheney Drive down steps directly adjacent to the power plant, north along the edge of Parker Commons, ending in the area bounded by Magill, Rhodes, Scully and the east end of the Dempster parking lot.

Holt said that while this is the most used pedestrian walkway on campus, this central corridor also is the least attractive. He said the steps beside the University’s power plant do not integrate with the landscape between Carnahan and Serena halls and are steeper than desirable by current standards. The steps descend into an undeveloped gravel parking lot that opens out into Parker Commons, which Holt says is a largely unused space with great potential as a central campus quad. He added that steps at the north end of the corridor, between Rhodes and Scully, are too steep and end in the concrete remains of a dead end road.

“Bringing the central corridor up to the standard of other pathways and quads on campus is an extensive, long-term project,” Holt said.

In keeping with Southeast’s commitment to experiential learning, students from design classes, construction management and horticulture will be involved in design development and implementing the project.

During the spring 2007 semester, faculty in the School of Polytechnic Studies will assign the design project to a select team of students who will be involved in completing and costing alternative designs and presenting them to the Campus Planning and Beautification Committee. After a design is selected, Holt said, depending on the total cost, the project will be divided into phases, and students will be involved in implementing each phase.

Information CommonsIn other action, the Regents today approved the second and third phases of the Information Commons Project. The Information Commons is being developed in Kent Library to support student teamwork, collaboration, and research on the Internet, and to provide access to multimedia and well-designed informal learning spaces.

The second phase will involve renovating the third floor, including transferring materials from the third floor to other locations in Kent Library, removing shelving, demolishing small study rooms, installing new flooring and carpet and relocating the Kent Library open lab to a central space on the third floor, Holt said. The second phase also will include furnishing and reconfiguring the reference help desk. Estimated cost of the second phase is $480,492. It is expected to be completed by August 2007.

The third and final phase will include new office space, construction of a student conference room and construction of a media center on the third floor. This work will be completed by the Academic Remodeling Team within the academic remodeling budget when available through 2010, Holt said.

The first phase of this project, completed last spring, included the renovation of the main floor (second floor) of Kent Library, including new carpet and flooring, a coffee “cart,” wireless access, the installation of slim client personal computers with access to library resources, contemporary furniture, a renovated circulation desk and the transfer of the reference section to the third floor of the building.