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Saturday, May 23, 2015

New use for old building

Thursday, February 1, 2007

(Photo)
Cape Girardeau Noon Lions Club members toured the River Campus with assistant director Robert Cerchio, left, who discussed the renovation of the old chapel of St. Vincent's Seminary, on Wednesday. The room will become a small performance hall.
(Fred Lynch)
About 40 members of the Cape Girardeau Lions Club got a sneak peek at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus for the Visual and Performing Arts Wednesday.

Site manager Carl Cooper said work is on schedule for a fall semester opening. Separate sections of the campus, though, will be substantially complete at different times.

The theater in the largest building is on track for substantial completion in the first week of June.

Cooper said he hopes the museum building will be complete in July and the convocation center will be ready for Southeast's annual open house in October.

Impressive project

Lions members who toured the facility wearing hard hats said they came away impressed.

"I think it's a great thing. It makes good use of this old building as well as providing a good campus for the school and cleaning up this end of town," said Kenneth Bender of Cape Girardeau.

"They spend enough of our tax dollars other ways. It's about time they spent them on something we can enjoy."

Bender, born in 1925, said he remembers the St. Vincent's Seminary building well and is glad to know it is getting a new use.

"It was a colorful building. It looked nice sitting on the grounds. So many other uses were talked about for the building, like a hotel or this, that and the other, but nothing would have preserved it as well as it is now," he said.

Councilman Matt Hopkins, also a Lion, said he enjoyed seeing the preservation of the old building.

"They went to great pains to preserve that building. You know, some of the more senior gentlemen on the tour said, 'they replaced those windows there.' Well, yes that's true, but I think we're all really pleased to see the way it has turned out because a lot of times older things can't be preserved," he said.

Hopkins also commended efforts taken by property owners Jack Rickard, who has rehabbed homes, and Scott Blank, owner of Bi-State Oil, to develop a land-use plan for the Good Hope/Haarig District. Hopkins said the opening of the campus will further spur the district's development.

tgreaney@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245


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