Southeast campus gets beautified

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Southeast Missouri State University plans to transform a muddy, steep-staired, cracked-concrete eyesore into a pedestrian plaza between the Scully and Rhodes buildings using plans drawn up by students.

It marks the first phase of a plan to beautify and relandscape the central pedestrian corridor that runs from the area bounded by the Rhodes/Scully area and extending south past the campus power plant and ending at Cheney Drive, school officials said.

"It will clean up and beautify an area that needs to be cleaned up," school president Dr. Ken Dobbins said. "We are very excited about this."

The first-phase design was developed by a team of five students majoring in construction management and agriculture. The pedestrian plaza includes a series of steps leading to a central plaza with a circular area in the middle that could feature a sculpture or possibly a clock or fountain. Those details still have to be worked out, officials said.

The plan as currently envisioned would include two waterfalls, each bordering a section of steps and surrounded by landscaped grounds.

Dobbins said he likes the idea of more waterfalls on campus. The university has incorporated waterfalls into two university signs that flank the entrance to the campus at Broadway and Henderson Avenue. Southeast also has a fountain in front of Kent Library that has become a campus landmark.

"I like water. It is calming and a beautiful thing," Dobbins said.

Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president of administration and enrollment management, said the initial planning done by students will be turned over to another tam of students who will develop more detailed construction plans.

The board of regents approved the general design last week, but suggested the design needs to be revised to avoid creating pedestrian bottlenecks.

But the regents voiced support for the beautification plan. "Conceptually, it is a great plan," regent Jim Limbaugh said.

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