SEMO wants monuments to open new 'front door'

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Southeast Missouri State University officials want to erect two monument signs with waterfalls at the Broadway and Henderson Avenue intersection to provide a "front door" to the campus.

"We don't have a front door to the campus. We have four back doors," said university president Dr. Ken Dobbins.

The monument signs are part of a $2.4 million project that includes paving the gravel lot next to Houck Field House, widening and straightening the Broadway and Henderson Avenue intersection, and widening Broadway from Houck Place to Park Street. Also included is construction of sidewalks at the campus entrance.

The city of Cape Girardeau will reimburse the university for the street and intersection work, part of a larger city project to widen Broadway from Perry Avenue to Houck Place.

Southeast's board of regents is expected to approve the project when it meets at 3 p.m. today in the University Center.

About $1.3 million of the cost ultimately will be paid from the city's transportation sales tax. The remaining $1.1 million will be paid by the university from existing bond proceeds and money set aside for campus improvements, school officials said.

In addition to that project, the regents will vote on a plan to renovate the exterior of Houck Field House at a cost of $270,000. The money would come out of the university's maintenance and repair budget.

Together, both projects will dress up what officials see as the main entrance to the campus.

"It should be a pretty nice intersection once it is done," said Art Wallhausen, associate to the president at Southeast.

The curved monument signs would be erected on the northeast and northwest corners of the Broadway and Henderson Avenue intersection. They will be built on land that will be turned into green space in conjunction with the street improvements. Henderson Avenue just north of Broadway will be shifted slightly west to better intersect with Broadway.

The signs will be constructed of rough-cut limestone, similar to that used on exterior walls of the new residence hall on Henderson Avenue.

Each sign will span be about 35 feet, terminated on either side by five-foot square pedestals with smooth-cut limestone caps.

The convex face of each monument will feature a waterfall with the name of the university in metal letters that will be mounted on metal pins that stick out from the stone. The monument signs will be illuminated at night.

Southeast hopes to award a construction contract on the Broadway and Henderson Avenue project by mid-April. The work is expected to be completed by Aug. 1, school officials said.

As part of the improvements, Southeast will end up with 116 paved parking spaces next to Houck Field House, officials said.

The university also plans to do the exterior renovations to Houck Field House this year, said Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president of administration and enrollment management.

The goal, he said, is to have everything completed in time for the university's homecoming celebration Oct. 29.

The university plans to repair the deteriorating concrete walls of the field house and then cover the exterior walls with a stucco, sandstone-colored finish, matching recent improvements to Houck Stadium.

In addition, the old glass block panels on the south wall of the field house will be replaced. Two sets of steel doors on the south side will be modified to include glass inserts. They will be framed by limestone pilasters topped by steel canopies. Other features include limestone planters along the south wall and the name "Houck Field House" in metal letters similar to that proposed for the monument signs.

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