Regents Okay Plan to Complete Academic Hall Dome Mezzanine


Board Discusses Possible River Campus Residential/Academic Quadrangle


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 6, 2012 — The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a plan to build out a mezzanine in the dome of Academic Hall as part of major restoration of the building currently under way.

Tim Rowbottom, principal with the Lawrence Group, an architectural firm contracted for the project, laid out a plan for a 1,950-square-foot mezzanine to be built seven feet above the building’s attic, placing it between the building’s third floor and the dome. The mezzanine would include a special event meeting place as well as a restroom and small kitchenette. The plan calls for the mezzanine’s ceiling to be glass, with a skylight offering a complete view of the dome’s interior and the historic chalked signatures added to the dome’s wooden structure over the University’s history.

Restricted access to the mezzanine would be via stairs and an elevator from the third floor. A spiral staircase would be built upward from the mezzanine to a ringed walkway encircling the perimeter of the dome and offering views through the dome’s porthole-type windows, Rowbottom said.

Total cost of the project is estimated at $1,051,000, with $645,000 going toward basic structure and build-out work and $406,000 toward lighting, fixtures and finishes. Estimated completion of the dome is scheduled for July 31, 2013, extending the length of the building’s restoration by one month. Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, said plans call for the Department of Communication Studies to be relocated from the Grauel Building to offices and classrooms in Academic Hall in time for the start of the fall 2013 semester. A grand re-opening of Academic Hall is planned during the University’s Homecoming celebration in October 2013, according to Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University.

In December 2010, the University issued $58.2 million in bond proceeds for major capital improvements on campus with $22.8 million dedicated to renovation of Academic Hall. The Regents today agreed to use remaining bond proceeds from this allocation to fund the dome mezzanine build-out.

In related business, the Regents discussed a space utilization study on campus and Regent Jim Limbaugh asked that it include a review of facilities at Houck Stadium needing updating, including the press box. Dobbins said the study should explore three possible locations for relocating these areas: the south side of the stadium, the east endzone and the north side of the stadium. Mangels said the surface of the Houck track also is being discussed as is a video recording structure to replace a lift currently being used to videotape Houck game footage.

In other action, Rowbottom updated the board on the Lawrence Group’s preliminary planning for a River Campus residence hall and academic spaces. One option being considered is a building on the campus to create a quadrangle on the northeast corner of the property near the old Mississippi River Bridge approach and the historic handball court. Rowbottom said the project could include both a 150-bed residential unit and academic space. He said the academic space would accommodate some of the fine arts areas that remain on the main campus and additional academic space needed due to significant increases in fine art majors.

Rowbottom said the Lawrence Group will bring their recommendations to the Board of Regents for consideration in October.