Lawmakers announce $1.7 million in grants for university

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Southeast Missouri State University will receive $1.7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education with $1.5 million going toward equipment for the River Campus and $248,525 to the university's nursing program.

Both grants are for the period from June 1, 2004, to May 30, 2007.

"A top-quality university education is essential to keeping our best students in Southeast Missouri and to growing our rural communities," said U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "The way to do that is to expand the programs that work, invest in our institutions, and offer new methods of learning. I am very proud of SEMO for meriting these grants. I will continue to advocate for programs such as these in Congress."

Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, announced the grant awards Friday with U.S. Sens. Kit Bond and Jim Talent.

"Through its diverse programs and quality education, Southeast Missouri State University continues to attract many of Missouri's best and brightest," Bond said. "These funds will help the university continue to offer top-notch programs to Missouri students."

The grant for the nursing program will be used to expand into the Bootheel region through marketing, recruiting, distance education and continuing education courses.

River Campus fundsThe grant for the River Campus will be used to purchase equipment such as lighting, audiovisual components, seating, performance audio and curtains for the university's visual and performing arts campus now under development on the grounds of a former Catholic seminary overlooking the Mississippi River.

The university broke ground on the campus May 27, 2003, and is now in the design and development phase of the project. Actual construction and renovation will likely not begin until late fall.

In addition to renovating the seminary building for classes, studios and offices, the River Campus will also have a Cape Girardeau welcome center, regional museum and a performing arts center that will contain a 950-seat performance hall, dance studio, music recital home and flexible theater, all of which will be open to the public throughout the year.

"Any federal appropriations for the River Campus make a big difference," said Martin Jones, dean of the university's school of liberal arts. Jones said Emerson and others have done a marvelous job of supporting the project and understanding its needs.

He said they have visited the River Campus site and are very enthusiastic about the positive impact it will have on the community.

In addition to this latest grant, the River Campus had already received a $2.6 million federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the development of the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum that will be housed on the campus. The project also received almost $1.8 million in federal grant money from The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

kalfisi@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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