Show Me Center mortgage burning celebrated

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Officials from the city of Cape Girardeau and Southeast Missouri State University celebrated a debt-free partnership Wednesday, using a university robot to burn the mortgage paper for the Show Me Center.

The mortgage burning marked the retirement of $5 million in bonds approved by Cape Girardeau city voters in April 1983 to help fund construction of the Show Me Center.

"I couldn't imagine the city not having this great facility," Mayor Jay Knudtson told a crowd of about 75 former and current city and university officials and state lawmakers prior to the mortgage burning in the Show Me Center arena.

The crowd stood and applauded the flame-toting robotic arm as the mortgage paper burned and red and black balloons were dropped from the ceiling.

Don Dickerson, president of the board of regents, said the Show Me Center has helped promote Cape Girardeau and seen famous entertainers such as Bob Hope and Bill Cosby and even received a visit from President Ronald Reagan.

"The Show Me Center has put us on the map," he said.

David Ross, the center's director since it opened in August 1987, praised university and city leaders for their vision in deciding to build the structure.

The building cost $16.5 million to construct, including the $5 million from the city bond issue, $8.5 million from the state of Missouri and $3 million from student fees.

"A comparable structure today would cost in excess of $60 million," Ross said.

Since opening 17 years ago, more than 4.9 million people have attended a combined 6,711 events at the Show Me Center, including basketball games, concerts and university commencements, Ross said.

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