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




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 4, 2003 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today authorized the start of a $650,000 to $700,000 design phase for the River Campus project.

In a closed session conducted by telephone, the Regents approved a motion to go forward with preparation of schematic design documents for the River Campus, construction documents for the Fountain Street extension to Highway 74 and related storm water detention facilities on the River Campus property, and archaeological and environmental services required for the project.

The Cape Girardeau City Council Monday night adopted an ordinance approving an agreement with the University for the construction of Fountain Street from Missouri Highway 74 to Morgan Oak Street. The Regents’ action Tuesday was necessary to implement this agreement.

University officials said the Fountain Street and water detention designs must be completed in order to implement a $1.5 million federal earmark to the City for infrastructure work related to the River Campus project. The design and construction work on the Fountain Street extension must be done simultaneously with the preparation of the final schematic design for the River Campus in order to have the Fountain Street project completed prior to the opening of the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge in late 2003.

That schematic design is also necessary in order to move forward with the design of the proposed Regional Museum, using a $2.6 million federal earmark received for the museum portion of the River Campus project.

Today’s action marks the latest stage in the City-University-State partnership which has resulted in development of a “web of resources” to be used for construction and equipment of the River Campus project.

In mid-February, U.S. Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced that a total of $1.7 million in the FY2003 federal budget has been earmarked for Southeast Missouri State University and the City of Cape Girardeau, to be used for the enhancement of the River Campus.

Under the latest earmarks announced Feb. 13 and 14, the City of Cape Girardeau will receive $500,000, which will be used for downtown revitalization and infrastructure improvements on and around the River Campus. Another earmark of $1.2 million for the University will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the River Campus facilities.

Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said, “I would like to express the University’s sincere gratitude to Senator Bond and Representative Emerson for their tremendous commitment to this project and for convincing their colleagues in Washington to support this important initiative.

“This is not the first time our legislators in Washington have rallied support for this project. Time and again they have done what is necessary to bring federal dollars back to Missouri and to put these dollars to work in enhancing educational and cultural opportunities for our students and residents throughout the Southeast Missouri region. We owe the team of Senator Bond and Representative Emerson a huge debt of gratitude for their efforts,” Dobbins said.

Officials with the City of Cape Girardeau, who are working cooperatively with the University in the development of the River Campus as part of downtown revitalization, applauded the University’s efforts for working with our Washington legislators in securing additional funding for the project.

“President Dobbins and the University have worked diligently to bring state and federal funding to our community in a way that benefits everyone,” said Jay Knudtson, mayor of Cape Girardeau. “The University and President Dobbins have demonstrated a relentless pursuit of funding in ways that benefit both the University and the City of Cape Girardeau, and this translates into a winning combination for everyone.”

Dr. Dale Nitzschke, former president of Southeast Missouri State University, who now serves as a federal legislative consultant for the institution, has worked closely with the Missouri Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., to help in securing federal dollars for the River Campus.

“The February announcement is another example of the effectiveness of Dale Nitzschke’s efforts on behalf of the University, the City of Cape Girardeau and the River Campus,” Dobbins said.

He added that with the latest announcement, some $7.5 million in federal monies have now been allocated for various enhancements of the River Campus project. These monies, he explained, 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 improvements and further enhancements at the River Campus and the surrounding area 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. Plans call for the River Campus to become home to the University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts and to 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.

The River Campus project is expected to boost the regional economy, both during the construction and operational phases. A recent economic impact study estimates that during the construction phase, the project will provide 263 jobs for two years, 132 jobs in the third year, $23.1 million in direct and indirect personal income, almost $100,000 in local retail sales tax and almost $300,000 in state tax revenue. After three years into the operational phase, the River Campus is expected to increase the University’s enrollment by more than 500 students and provide about 135 new jobs in the community and more than $5 million annually in additional personal income in the region.

Dobbins said it appears that the University will be in a position to break ground on the River Campus site in late spring or early this summer so that the new entry to the property off the Fountain Street extension will be ready when the Emerson Bridge opens. The River Campus is expected to open in late 2006 or early 2007.

“As a result of today’s action by the Board of Regents and yesterday’s action by the City Council, architects will be able to proceed with construction documents for many infrastructure aspects of the project and preparation of the final River Campus conceptual designs,” he said. “We expect that the total planning process will take about a year. Our private fund-raising is within sight of our goal. The River Campus has, again, picked up momentum and is well on its way to becoming a reality.”


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