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Location: Cape Girardeau, MO

Architect: while with The Lawrence Group

Southeast Missouri State University, Academic Hall

After a century of use, this university administration building had reached a critical juncture. The renovation strived to achieve three primary goals: replace failing infrastructure, enhance the student experience, and honor history while preparing for the future.

The building contained a combination of original, replacement, and modified mechanical, electrical and fire protections systems. The last major infrastructure upgrades robbed the building of its historic grandeur. The building envelope was also beginning to fail and needed extensive upgrades.

A major challenging in the renovation was developing a strategy to replace the entire infrastructure while revitalizing the historic elements. The design team chose to declare the historic corridors “off limits”, meaning all infrastructure distribution would wrap around the historic corridors.

The design team conducted research in the university archives and developed strategies to restore significant features such as the grand stair, 1904 world’s fair light fixtures, and mosaic tile floors. Where new tile floors were custom shape, size, color, and “non-pillowed” to match the original flooring. New woodwork was specified as figured white oak to match the original building trim and the envelope was upgraded for improved thermal and moisture control.

Lastly, the original copper dome, an iconic symbol of the campus was beginning to fail. Within the copper dome lies a collection of over 10,000 student and faculty signatures, representing the storied history of the university. The dome was re-clad in copper and a new mezzanine constructed inside the original dome so the storied history could be showcased.