Site Work Begins on New Center for Speech and Hearing


Speech and Hearing2CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 22, 2016 – Work is under way at the site of a new Center for Speech and Hearing at Southeast Missouri State University.

Located at the corner of North Pacific Street and Watkins Drive at the site of the current commuter parking Lot 1-16, the new 8,100-square-foot building, when completed, will help better serve the needs of the Center’s some 130 clients annually.

“We are thrilled beyond words,” said Dr. Marcia Brown Haims, chair of the Department of Communication Disorders at Southeast. “It’s very exciting.”

The new $2.45 million Center will replace the current facility which opened in Grauel Building in the 1960s.

With the Center’s move to a new location just across Watkins Drive, its current location on the first floor of Grauel will be freed up for other academic needs as Grauel is renovated and space is reconfigured. Renovations in Grauel to better meet the needs of students are currently in the design phase and are expected to begin in January.

Boulder Construction of Cape Girardeau is currently grading the site for the new building and conducting soil stabilization.  A one-story structure will be built on the site, with the new facility to be completed in November, according to Carolyn Figliolo, associate director of Facilities Management.

Figliolo said parking in that area will be relocated just to the south of the new building, and a new parking lot will be added this summer along College Hill, immediately east of the International Education and Services house. The Vineyard House at 927 College Hill, currently at that location, will be razed to make room for additional parking. That lot is expected to be completed by the start of the fall 2016 semester, Figliolo said.

Haims said construction of the new Center for Speech and Hearing will help in meeting the standards of its accrediting body, the American Speech Language Hearing Association. She said the association has been concerned about the privacy needs of its clients in its current Grauel location which serves many students in the departments of Mass Media, English and Communication Disorders.

“We simply don’t have enough square footage in Grauel to meet everyone’s needs,” she said.

The Center for Speech and Hearing provides comprehensive diagnostic and intervention services for communication disorders — speech, language and hearing evaluations and treatment — for all ages. It also offers clinical training for students majoring in communication disorders. The Center is staffed by seven full-time faculty, 30 graduate students and about 50 undergraduate students.

The new Center will feature:

  • 10 identical small therapy rooms
  • One large room for diagnostic services
  • One room for audiological testing with a soundproof booth
  • Two labs – one for swallowing and acoustics, and another for augmentative and alternative communication equipped with electronic communication devices for students to work with clients
  • A clinical kitchen for life skills training
  • An observation lounge with wifi for families to watch their child’s session
  • A room with desk space for clinical supervisors
  • An office for the Clinic Coordinator Martha Cook and a receptionist
  • Two rooms which can double as both therapy rooms and conference session space with students; and
  • A student workroom with storage space

The new facility with its added space will allow the Center to expand the number of school-age children it sees between 3 and 5 p.m. after local schools dismiss.

Brown Haims said the Center has served the needs of clients throughout the area, from toddlers to senior citizens – for years. Those interested in receiving services may call the Center directly at (573) 651-2488. The Center also accepts referrals from local hospitals and health care providers.

She said the new facility is a major step forward for the Center for Speech and Hearing.

“We can’t wait to see what happens,” she said.