Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Construction blocks off sections of Greek Hill

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Students living in group housing might notice some changes as they return to their dorms following winter break.

Fencing currently blocks off sidewalk sections through Greek Hill from the Polytechnic Building to the middle of the group residence buildings as construction is in progress to maintain Southeast’s steam tunnel system.

Last year, facilities management identified tunnels 51 through 55 on the northern side of campus needing repairs in order to maintain the campus’ infrastructure, Director of Facilities Management Angela Meyer said.

Kiefner Brothers Construction Company won the bid for construction last semester, which includes both plumbing and concrete work.

The tunnel project is estimated to cost the university $1.29 million, with total expenses estimated at $2.4 million including soft costs such as consulting fees, Meyer said. It will be funded by a combination of state funding and Southeast’s maintenance and repair fund, she said.

This project is one of $7.7 million in construction projects during the Fall 2019 to Spring 2020 school year at Southeast, Meyer said. Southeast also plans improvements to the Towers East fire alarm system, repairing elevators, construction of a Veteran’s Memorial Plaza and an arts facility.

Director of Residence Life Kendra Skinner said while the fenced-off construction area might mean diverting traffic to Greek housing, the goal is to provide the safest environment for the nearly 300 students living in group housing while construction occurs.

“That was a critical part of our conversation with [Residence Life] — putting student safety first,” Meyer said of the construction planning process.

Clear exits and pathways are marked, Skinner said, and the Office of Residence Life plans to send out regular email updates as construction occurs.

The tunnel system distributes steam to buildings on campus, which delivers heating, electricity and hot water. Meyer said maintenance of these tunnels in particular is vital to campus.

“If that tunnel fails, then that end of campus would lose significant functionality,” Meyer said.

While Facilities Management did not experience any unscheduled outages during the current school year, Meyer said the department intends to be proactive in preventing issues from this section of the steam tunnel.

The construction, which began shortly after winter commencement Dec. 16, is anticipated to be completed by July.