Major capital renovations were completed at the Show Me Center this summer that continue to elevate the facility to contemporary arena standards in time for a full slate of 2016-2017 events at Southeast Missouri State University.
“These upgrades have provided a modern venue designed to attract and bring new performances to the delight of our patrons,” said Ben Eller, Facilities Management project manager.
This summer’s renovations included reinforcement of existing and adding steel beams, a new catwalk and updates to the north parking lot.
The upgrades, which were part of the second phase of renovations, began in May and are now complete. This summer, 80 existing steel beams were strengthened to accommodate 5,000 pounds of rigging load each; 20 additional steel beams have been added to the west stage end of the arena ceiling, and a new catwalk was added leading to the exhaust fans for maintenance purposes, said Eller.
Reinforcement of existing beams and the addition of new beams allows the whole ceiling structure to support more weight and rigging brought by visiting shows and artists, said Abbie Vander Bol, marketing director of the Show Me Center.
“The adding of the additional steel components to the structure almost doubles our load capacity and will allow us to pursue bigger and better shows,” said Vander Bol.
With performers increasing their stage designs, sound and equipment, it’s important the Show Me Center can support the new performances, which is why additional load limits were added to the roof trusses, said Eller.
“Per our consultant, the largest show on the road right now is roughly 200,000 pounds,” Eller said. “We strengthened the roof to allow six of the primary roof trusses to carry up to 50,000 pounds each for a total of 300,000 pounds.”
Increasing the safety for staff was also a top priority, and steel beams were added to allow easier access for rigging teams.
“This created a tighter, more condensed grid of steel to support rigging loads, and now every rigging beam has fall protection for the safety of the riggers,” Eller said.
Artisan Contracting of Cape Girardeau served as the general contractor for the rigging grid expansion, and Walter P. Moore Engineering Co. of Kansas City, Missouri, provided consultations for the roof repairs.
Work also was done this summer to refurbish the north parking lot. Vander Bol said Redhawks fans will have a safer parking experience, and vendors will have easier access to the north entrance and loading dock. Apex Paving of Cape Girardeau was the general contractor for the parking lot work.
Patrons will enjoy an enhanced audience experience with the latest updates.
“The notable changes will be the bigger stages and shows our patrons will have the benefit of attending here locally,” said Vander Bol. “The renovations continue to allow the Show Me Center to provide a great quality experience without having to travel across the state.”
“These renovations are part of the continued progress the Show Me Center and the University are making to improve the marketability of our venue to major market shows,” said Jim Barbatti, assistant director of the Show Me Center. “In doing so, we also hope to increase the overall desirability of attending Southeast. Being able to stage first class entertainment right here in Cape Girardeau allows us to offer unprecedented opportunities to our student body and the community to see quality entertainment close to home. We also see it as a continuation of our efforts to draw additional revenues into the community.”
Structural steel upgrades this summer totaled $815,715, and parking lot improvements were $903,794. The costs were financed with one-time funds with an internal loan from the University’s fund balance, previously approved by the Board of Regents.
The first phase of work was completed in summer 2015 and included improvements to the facility’s telescopic seating, installation of new seats to increase the facility’s seating capacity, a new video scoreboard system, sound and lighting systems, and a new roof.
The Southeast Board of Regents approved moving forward with the renovations in June 2014 after a team of consultants who specialize in the planning and design of spectator facilities, conducted a review of necessary renovations to the building. The Regents approved a list of high priority major capital renovations to upgrade the facility to accommodate modern arena events.
The Show Me Center construction was a joint venture among the University, the City of Cape Girardeau and the State of Missouri. Operation of the Show Me Center is the responsibility of the University. The facility is home to Southeast’s Division I men’s and women’s basketball programs, and hosts a variety of University, private and entertainment events. These were the first major upgrades to the facility since it opened in 1987, although the east exterior ticket booth and the stair and patio area on the north side of the building were added along the way.