Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552
ahayes@semo.edu

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PROGRESS REPORT 2002 SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 7, 2003 - The year 2002 will go down in history as one of both challenge and triumph at Southeast Missouri State University.

The institution grappled with severe budgetary cuts brought on by declining state revenue. At the same time, Southeast experienced sustained enrollment growth and the River Campus project, once again, regained its momentum.

Budget Cuts

A budgetary crisis reached a severe level last year as a result of additional withholdings from the University's state appropriations in fiscal 2002 -- $2.2 million in August 2001, $900,000 in December 2001 and $4 million in May 2002. An additional $5 million was cut from the University's base budget appropriation for fiscal 2003 that began July 1, 2002. These additional withholdings reduced the University's state appropriation to the fiscal 1997 level, causing Southeast to spend its entire "rainy day fund" and to take other action to reduce expenditures.

"These are very uncertain fiscal times - a fact that makes operating our University and planning for the future more difficult than usual," said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University.

The Regents last spring voted to increase incidental fees by $17 a credit hour and, in June 2002, approved a $6 per credit hour surcharge in order to assist the University in addressing severe state appropriation cuts.

In October, the Southeast Board of Regents approved a restructuring and consolidation plan that went into effect in January to streamline administrative structures in order to reduce expenses. Under the plan, several academic departments were restructured and consolidated, building maintenance and repair budgets and equipment purchases were reduced, operating budgets of almost every unit on campus were cut, and Parker Pool was closed.

In February, Gov. Bob Holden said he would withhold $21 million from state colleges and universities to help make up a growing shortfall in FY2003 revenue. This withholding will further reduce Southeast's appropriation by about $1 million for fiscal 2003. Dobbins says the University will cover $750,000 of that amount from an unbudgeted increase in enrollment. The other $300,000 will come from additional operational cuts.

Despite the University's budget woes, Southeast continues to experience sustained enrollment growth. Southeast set another record enrollment with 9,534 students in fall 2002, exceeding the University's fall 2001 record enrollment of 9,352. The institution set another all-time spring enrollment high with total headcount of 8,993 for the spring 2003 semester.

"So many individuals have worked so very hard to create an environment in which students can be successful," Dobbins said. "As the numbers indicate, the University is continuing to make great strides toward our strategic plan enrollment goal. This is a wonderful tribute to all of our faculty and staff who have worked so hard to bring students here and to improve retention at Southeast."

Southeast has more than doubled its enrollment since 1963 when total headcount was 4,002. Beginning in 1963, enrollment grew steadily through 1984, when total fall headcount was reported at 9,189. Figures then steadily decreased through 1994 when total fall headcount was just 7,925. Enrollment has been on the rise over the past eight years, and Southeast is the fastest growing university in the state except for the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

University officials attribute Southeast's growing enrollment to steady growth in the freshman classes over the past several years. Those numbers translate into growth in other classes, such as junior and seniors in subsequent years. Southeast also continues to recruit a slightly increasing share of high school graduates from the St. Louis area. In addition, Southeast's Minority Student Programs Office reported the highest retention rate - 92 percent - and grade point average statistics in the five years of the program, and the number of minority students on campus has grown by 31 percent since 1998.

New Construction

To accommodate Southeast's growing enrollment, Southeast dedicated a new five-story, 300-bed residence hall last October, which is situated on the east side of Henderson between Broadway and Normal. The University also broke ground on a multi-modal transfer facility, which will become a tiered, "park and ride lot" with a public transportation bus transfer facility.

  • Park and Ride Lot

University travelers would park their vehicle at the facility and then use the campus shuttle system or walk to reach their destination. The park and ride lot will include a combination of structure and surface parking with the integration of a transit office to handle the coordination and dispatching of University shuttles. The proposed design includes 600 surface parking spaces, 1,200 structured parking spaces and a transit transfer area.

The approximately $12.5 million project is being funded by a Federal Transit Administration grant administered through the Missouri Department of Transportation. It covers 80 percent of the cost. The University is responsible for a 20 percent match from its Parking and Transit Auxiliary Fund.

The first phase of work on this project, which includes site work and the building of a road, has begun. Construction on the parking deck itself could begin late this year, with completion expected by the end of 2004.

  • New Residence Hall

In addition to more parking on the north end of campus, the south side of campus has seen the addition of a new residence hall. The new facility, located on the east side of Henderson Street between Broadway and Normal, boasts many amenities students have come to expect, including movable furniture, bunkable beds, suite style rooms, phone jacks, cable jacks and high-speed Internet access in every room. The building also features high ceilings, large windows and many electrical outlets.

Southeast was the only public college or university in Missouri to open a new residence hall this school year. The new hall houses primarily returning students, with about 70 residents per floor. A typical suite in the new hall is shared by four students, with two in each room. Semiprivate bathrooms connect the two rooms.

The building is carpeted throughout with the exception of laundry facilities, which are located on the first level and have a large, adjacent television/game room. Floors two through five each feature a large glassed-in living room area with a view to the southwest. These areas contain a kitchenette, LAN drops and plenty of room for meetings, social gatherings or studying. A second, mid-sized lounge on each floor provides a more social and intimate space for residents to meet. Also located on each floor is a designated study room for eight to 10 students to meet and practice presentations or conduct small group study sessions. The building also features the latest in life safety equipment with sprinklers and smoke detectors throughout the facility.

The hall's brick and stone exterior was chosen in an effort to blend in well with neighboring facilities. A large green space has been created behind the new residence hall, creating a welcome environment for students to recreate or to just enjoy the outdoors. With the addition of the new hall, the formation of a residential unit consisting of Dearmont, Myers and the new facility is now completed.

"We are creating a new community," said Jim Settle, director of Residence Life.

Ryan Sides of Cape Girardeau says he enjoys living in the new building.

"It's really nice to be in a brand new residence hall," he said. "Not many students have the opportunity to be the first to live in a new building. Our room, along with the study areas and the game room are great. Plus, the students in my building love being able to eat in the new Skylight Terrace next door to our building."

A major component of the new community is the expansion of a new food service area in the University Center. The new dining space, called Skylight Terrace, has been constructed on the former patio on the south side of the University Center. The former patio is covered with a two-story glass atrium that creates a very open and pleasant dining environment. The new dining space provides seating for more than 230 people, a new entrance for the University Center, and the addition of a new food service concept.

"We believe the new residence hall and the new dining area are very attractive to students," said Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president for administration and enrollment management. "We have had a lot of student involvement with these projects and have tried to meet the needs of students. They were very supportive and very active in the process."

Holt said a new residence hall was needed at Southeast as occupancy in residence halls on the campus has increased steadily since 1997. He said rising occupancy rates in Southeast's residence halls are due, in part, to the University's ability to attract about 40 percent of its students from the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

Total cost of the new residence hall is $13.4 million, which is being financed through the issuance of bonds. The bonds will be retired through residence hall fees paid by student residents.

Prior to the construction of the new facility, Southeast's residence hall system consisted of 12 separate buildings, all of which were built before 1970. Two of the buildings in the Towers Complex were renovated into suites in 1993-1995. All five Group houses and the Towers main complex were renovated in 1999-2000.

River Campus

As enrollment continues to grow, so does momentum for the River Campus project, which picked up tremendous speed at the end of last year. In December, the University's Board of Regents approved several measures marking a significant step forward in making the proposed River Campus a reality.

To date, some $7.5 million in federal monies have been allocated for various enhancements at the River Campus. In addition, $5 million in state tax credits have been made available for donors making significant contributions to the project. These monies are above and beyond the $35.6 million budgeted cost of the project and cannot be spent on actual construction. These federal funds are being used to make further enhancements at the River Campus and the surrounding area - via state-of-the-art equipment, infrastructure, and significant Museum advancements -- that otherwise would not be possible.

The River Campus is a cooperative project with the State of Missouri, the City of Cape Girardeau, private donors and the federal government to be constructed on the 16.6-acre St. Vincent's College and Seminar property adjacent to the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. The campus will include a large performance hall, a recital hall, a regional history and art museum, rehearsal rooms, theatres, dance and art studios, classrooms and related facilities.

In December, the Board approved a revised conceptual design for the River Campus and a funding structure for the project. The newly approved designs call for the Fountain Street extension to become the "front door" for the River Campus and the downtown area as vehicles enter Missouri from the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge on Route 74. Under the new plans, the River Campus Museum will be a focal point of the campus on the west side of the site near the future extension of Fountain Street. The performance hall will now be just south of the museum, and the two facilities will share lobby space.

Construction is expected to begin this summer and should be completed in late 2006 or early 2007.

Work on the River Campus Terrace project also will begin this summer. This will involve the development of pedestrian trails, a pavilion overlooking the Mississippi River, informational signs about the plant life and history of the site, benches and a small parking area. Also included in this plan is the continuation of the city's popular hiking/biking trail on the property and a link to a loop that would follow Spanish Street north in the downtown area, circle around on the river side of the floodwall continuing south, and the cross Aquamsi onto the River Campus.

The University also received approval this week from the Missouri Division of Tourism Commission for affiliation status to build and operate an affiliated Missouri Welcome Center at the River Campus in cooperation with the City of Cape Girardeau, the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The 5,000-square-foot Welcome Center will be located adjacent to the River Campus Museum. The University now will begin developing final plans and proceed with working with the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Cape Girardeau City Council in seeking federal flow-through monies through the Missouri Department of Transportation to cover construction costs associated with the proposed 5,000-square-foot facility.

"I know there are concerns about moving forward with the River Campus project at a time of operating budget constraints," Dobbins said. "So it is important to underscore the fact that whether we start or delay this capital project, the decision will not affect the current operating budget problems our campus has experienced recently as a result of cutbacks in state appropriations. The city, state and Foundation funds that will be used for the River Campus construction are one-time monies earmarked for that project and cannot be used for salaries, benefits or other base budget operating expenses.

"We are continuing to move forward on the River Campus because of its long-range advantages for the University's academic programs and student enrollment, for the City of Cape Girardeau, and for the region," Dobbins added. "If the project were be to abandoned due to the short-term operating budget shortfalls we are having, the capital funding that is already in place would no longer be available for any University or community purpose, or to provide a much-needed boost to the local economy. Therefore, we are going forward with the project and are anxiously awaiting its completion."

Technology/Applied Research Park

While the University continues to press forward with plans for the River Campus, it also is looking toward advances in another arena. Southeast is exploring plans to develop an Innovation Center. The center would be added to the four current centers - St. Louis, Columbia, Rolla and Kansas City - and would be part of the University's interface with the Missouri Life Sciences initiative. University officials say that participating in this initiative will benefit the entire University in terms of increased visibility, enrollment, prestige and overall budget. In connection with this initiative, the Governor has announced the formation of a life sciences research group, including all four University of Missouri campuses, Truman State University, Central Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Southwest Missouri State University, St. Louis University, Washington University and Southeast.

In conjunction with the Innovation Center, the University has requested designation as a "Missouri Innovation Center In Plant Life Science." The designation would pave the way for a plant life science related business incubator and a technology/applied research park to house firms bringing plant life science applications to market. University officials say a Technology Research Park, to be developed on the University Farm just north of Cape Girardeau, could play a key role in the State of Missouri's Life Sciences State Plan to become "The World's Life Science Gateway." Internationally known research organizations such as the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis are leading this initiative. Southeast is looking towards becoming a cooperative partner with the Danforth Center and state research universities, with Southeast focusing on applied research, commercializations and applications that would provide a boost for economic and workforce development. The business incubator and technology/applied research park would allow science, agriculture, and business faculty and students the opportunity to participate in applied research.

Former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan announced last summer that the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved a $1 million funding request for this project. University officials are continuing to pursue this federal funding and say the park would expand the current pool of plant sciences and agricultural jobs in the state, as well as in and around the Cape Girardeau area. The project is part of a major statewide economic development plan.

A key piece of infrastructure for this initiative is a new campus Agriculture Plant Science Greenhouse. To meet Southeast Missouri State University's expectations under the Missouri's Life Sciences State Plan to attract biotechnology business to region and to the planned Technology Research Park, there must be adequate greenhouse space for firms, faculty, and students to develop and field test plant science inventions and innovations. The present 5,500- square foot greenhouse was built in the 1970s and no longer contains the space and technology needed to conduct quality applied research. A new facility is needed to attract and retain research faculty and foster interaction with present and future biotechnology firms in the region.

The Department of Agriculture is working to enhance its horticulture program by building a new greenhouse complex. The first phase of the expansion calls for a new 11,000-square foot greenhouse plus a head house (work building) to accompany it. Total cost of the first phase of the project is $635,000. The second phase calls for building a classroom laboratory building, an arboretum, walkways and turf management facilities. Funding for phase one is coming from a recently announced $200,000 Delta Regional Authority grant as well as private gifts.

Construction of a new greenhouse, which is part of the first phase of the project, is expected to begin this summer and be completed during the fall 2003 semester. The new greenhouse will be located on a 17-acre plot behind the University's new softball fields at Bertling and Sprigg, with access from Bertling.

Accreditations

Expansion of the University's horticulture program is indicative of research that shows that two-thirds of Southeast students say the University's academic curriculum is the main reason they choose this institution. Last year, Southeast received unconditional 10-year re-accreditation for education programs from both the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which reaffirms the University's longstanding leadership role in the training of teachers.

Engineering physics also received prestigious national accreditation, which means that Southeast students are now eligible to become registered professional engineers in certain areas.

Both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs received national 10-year accreditation, and an additional cooperative doctoral degree in higher education administration is under development. In addition, a new bachelor of fine arts degree in performing arts and a new bachelor of science in industrial technology construction management and design were approved to meet student demand.

MOBIUS

To support student research and learning, Kent Library implemented MOBIUS, a shared, statewide, computerized library system, expanding access to an impressive 14 million titles in cooperation with 50 public and private academic libraries in Missouri. Additionally, the library now gives students access to 6,638 full-text periodicals online.

Perryville Area Higher Education Center

Southeast also expanded access to education in other ways by opening the Perryville Area Higher Education Center last fall. This Center, which joins others like it in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston, is in the former library of St. Mary Seminary in Perryville, just off Progress Drive near its intersection with Highway T. The former Vincentian seminary was established in 1818 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

"This building has a rich history and tradition of educating young people," Holt said. "This facility once educated young Vincentian seminarians studying for the priesthood. We think this is a wonderful place for students to come and study. The campus has a real collegiate feel."

The facility, which is a partnership of Mineral Area College and Southeast Missouri State, is serving students from Ste. Genevieve, Perry, Bollinger and northern Cape Girardeau counties.

The new Perryville Area Higher Education Center replaces the former Perry County Higher Education Center site at Sereno. The new facility required some remodeling including updating former classrooms and the office. The center has five classrooms, a computer lab, an interactive television classroom, office space, and a library and reading room.

The Southeast Missouri Educational Consortium leased the building from the Vincentians for 50 years at a cost of $1 per year. The consortium has the option to lease two additional buildings on campus, so there is room for expansion.

This fall, unduplicated headcount at PAHEC was 223 with students taking 1,281 credit hours of course work.

"The University has experienced tremendous growth at our other higher education centers in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston," Holt said. "I expect the same will occur at Perryville."

KRCU Radio

In its continuing efforts to serve the region more effectively, Southeast moved the transmitter of its public radio station, KRCU, to a radio tower north of Cape Girardeau, increasing the station's coverage area by 300 percent. KRCU also received a major federal grant for construction of a repeater station near Farmington, Mo., that will provide National Public Radio service in the Mineral Area and extend the station's coverage northward into St. Louis County.

SEMO Regional Crime Lab

Federal funding also is helping with a new facility planned for the Southeast Missouri Regional Crime Laboratory. Construction and renovation has begun on the interior of a University facility at 122 S. Ellis. Completion is expected in May when the current Crime Lab on Henderson Street will be closed and relocated to the much more spacious facility at Merriweather and Ellis streets.

Athletics

In addition to renovations at the Crime Lab, improvements were made last year to the fašade of Houck Stadium, giving the aging structure a new look and correcting some serious deterioration. Inside the stadium, the Southeast Missouri State Indian football team put an exclamation point on its best campaign since 1969, finishing the season at 8-4 and applauding two players for winning All-America honors.

The women's soccer team was the most improved team in the nation last year, finishing first in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Southeast Baseball Indians are coming off their most impressive season in history that saw them win the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships, as well as winning their first game in an NCAA Regional as they defeated the Crimson Tide of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

In other areas of athletics, a member of the Southeast basketball team was honored with the OVC Freshman of the Year award for the first time in school history. The men's indoor and outdoor track teams and the women's outdoor track team finished second in the OVC, while the Southeast women finished second overall in the OVC All Sports Trophy race. The Southeast softball Otahkians received an impressive honor off the field, finishing second in the nation academically.

A Look Ahead

Despite significant budgetary challenges in 2002, Southeast Missouri State University continued to make progress on a number of fronts with significant change and growth. The institution will continue to deal with budgetary issues in the coming year, but the campus and the University's Board of Regents have developed a long-term budgetary plan for working through these challenges.

The River Campus is well on its way to becoming a reality, and a ground breaking ceremony this summer will mark a significant step in that direction. Meanwhile, a new greenhouse is expected to take shape on the campus over the summer, and construction on a new park and ride facility could begin late this year. University officials will continue to pursue an Innovation Center, a plant life science related business incubator and a technology/applied research park to house firms bringing plant life science applications to market. University officials say these efforts could pave the way for Southeast to play a key role in the future in the State of Missouri's Life Sciences State Plan to become "The World's Life Science Gateway."

With sustained enrollment growth over the past several years, Southeast is continuing its tremendous efforts to build a stronger and greater university. This continues to be a truly exciting time in the history of Southeast Missouri State University.

 

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