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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOUNDATION BOARD EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MAKES OFFER TO PURCHASE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH PROPERTIES

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 16, 2003 - The Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board Executive Committee today agreed to make an offer to purchase the properties of First Baptist Church and the Baptist Development Association at 926 Broadway as a means of addressing several short- and long-term space needs of the University.

The offer was made after representatives of the First Baptist Church congregation approached the University to assess its interest in purchasing the property.

The Foundation Executive Committee announced that it would make the offer after the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents approved a request to the Foundation to purchase the properties for $3.5 million. This purchase would be made from auxiliary operations funds, private donations and federal/state grants and earmarks. No tuition dollars would be used for the purchase.

That action came during a closed session meeting of the Board this afternoon.

The $3.5 million offer is subject to the approval of the church congregation, which is expected to vote on the matter in mid-June. Church members will have an opportunity to discuss the offer and the future of their church at four informational meetings over the next two weeks.

The offer includes a provision by which the Foundation would agree to rent the Sanctuary Building back to the church until Dec. 31, 2005, or until the congregation relocates to another site.

The properties of First Baptist Church of Cape Girardeau and the Baptist Development Association are located on 3.4 acres and consist of an extensive parking area and three main buildings - the Sanctuary Building, the Education Building and the Activity Building. The Activity Building comprises two floors and a gymnasium. The Sanctuary Building is a four-story structure, and the three-story Education Building is connected with a breezeway to the Sanctuary Building.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, says that acquiring the property would allow the University to increase student parking without building a $3.2 million parking garage on Henderson Street. It would also expand opportunities for student recreational sports on the south end of campus, improve facilities for University Advancement and the Child Development Center, house offices for a planned state-designated innovation center and future business incubator, and enhance space for Southeast athletics consistent with Title IX and NCAA expectations.

In addition to the $3.5 million offer, $1 million in HVAC and mechanical upgrades would be necessary, Dobbins said, bringing the total cost to $4.5 million.

Student Parking

Purchasing the church properties, University officials say, would accommodate additional parking needs on the south end of campus as a result of Southeast opening a new residence hall along Henderson Street last fall. Originally, the University planned to build a parking deck on the west side of Henderson Street, across from the residence hall, that would have provided an additional 182 parking spaces at an estimated cost of $3.25 million. During the construction phase for that facility, the current 180 surface parking spaces now available on the west side of Henderson would have been removed from service until the parking deck was completed. The University has since dismissed this plan.

"Acquisition of the First Baptist Church parking lot would provide immediate access to 161 regular parking spaces and eight handicapped spaces by the time the fall semester begins," Dobbins said. "If the church were to accept the Foundation's offer, an additional 60 spaces would also become available when the church fully vacates the property at a later date."

Student Recreational Sports

In addition to the need for more parking on the south end of the campus, the University now has a critical need for additional recreational opportunities in that area as well, Southeast officials say. Currently, the Student Recreation Center on the north campus serves 1,700 students daily. Dobbins says the First Baptist Church Activity Building could become a Student Recreation Center Annex.

A recreation annex in the First Baptist Church Activity Building would provide students with increased access to cardio workout and weight-lifting opportunities; intramural sports, including floor hockey and roller hockey; a racquetball court; and an indoor running/walking track. The gym in that building could serve as an indoor practice facility for the softball and baseball teams before 5 p.m. and accommodate intramural teams after 5 p.m.

Dobbins said that if the church accepts the Foundation's offer, the Rec Center Annex Concept could be in place as early as the start of the fall 2003 semester.

Innovation Center/Business Incubator

Acquisition of the church properties also would provide space for the University to establish an Innovation Center as provided under House Bill 7, recently approved by the Missouri legislature, and a small business incubator. The Innovation Center will focus on manufacturing technology and the life sciences, two of the three major statewide economic development initiatives being advanced by Missouri Gov. Bob Holden.

University Advancement

In addition, Southeast officials say that if the University acquired the church property, the University Advancement office would be relocated to the Sanctuary Building, and plans to construct a new facility near Wildwood on the north end of campus at an estimated cost of $1.5 million would not be necessary. The Sanctuary Building would provide expanded office, meeting and storage space, and University Advancement would be assigned primary use of the main sanctuary and adjacent office areas. University Advancement currently is located in the Wehking Center which has 6,291 square feet. Moving to the Sanctuary Building would give the operation a total of 11,803 square feet, representing an addition of 5,512 square feet, Dobbins said.

The University broke ground on a new alumni center 14 months ago, but the project was put on hold after bids for a new facility came in too high, Dobbins said.

He added that if University Advancement were to relocate to the church property, KRCU 90.9 FM could relocate from its current facilities along Henderson Street to the Wehking Center. Plans then could proceed to demolish the current KRCU building and complete the development of University property on the corner of Henderson and Broadway, he said.

Child Development/Faculty Offices

Acquiring the church property would also allow for the relocation of the University's Child Development Center from the first floor of Scully to the First Baptist Education building. This move would allow the Center to serve more children, provide for more convenient access and resolve safety issues related to traffic flow in and out of the current location. Dobbins says the vacated spaces in Scully would be used to provide much needed office space for an expanding faculty in the Department of Human Environmental Studies.

Athletics

Dobbins said the Activity and Sanctuary Building would also provide space for several outstanding needs of the Department of Athletics related to Title IX (gender equity) and a recent NCAA certification team review. These facilities would double the space available for athletics academic support, provide a women's softball locker room and free up space in Houck for a women's soccer locker room. Space also would be provided for offices for women's volleyball assistant coaches, men's golf head coach, Athletics marketing and development offices, and improved office space would be available for women's soccer and tennis coaches.

Relocating academic support for student athletes from Kent Library to the church Activity Building would improve the quality of academic support space for athletes, Dobbins said. Textbook Services, in turn, could then be moved from the University Center to Kent Library, thus opening up space in the University Center for more office space for student activities and organizations in accordance with the developing University Center master plan, Dobbins said.

Dobbins said the proposed uses for the church properties, if acquired, would be developed in stages over a three-year period. He said 169 parking spaces, recreational sports opportunities, softball and baseball practice areas, space for athletics academic support and the innovation center could be ready by the start of the fall semester.

The Southeast Missouri University Foundation intends on financing the deal with $2.05 million in proceeds from the sale of System Facilities bonds originally earmarked for the parking deck along Henderson Street, which, with this offer, would no longer be necessary; $800,000 in private funds already raised for construction of a new alumni center; $50,000 from the Parking and Transit FY02 fund balance; and a $1.6 million loan from the Foundation.

Dobbins says the University intends to repay the loan over a 15-year period using federal/state grants and earmarks. No student fees would be used to retire the loan.

 

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