BUILDING FOR THE
REGIONAL CONSTRUCTION EXPANDS CAMPUSES, OPPORTUNITIES
By Bill Beggs Jr.
Most of us see the heavy equipment building and rebuilding interchanges,
bridges and highways from Alton to Arnold, from O’Fallon to
O’Fallon. Construction cranes are a part of the everyday skyline
in downtown St. Louis, Clayton and numerous other spots throughout
St. Louis County. The bigger, regional picture encompasses construction
of all types in counties named Franklin, St. Charles, Jefferson,
Madison, St. Clair, Monroe and beyond.
Included in the bricks-and-mortar metamorphosis are the institutions
of higher learning on both sides of the river that regularly
produce eager new members of a burgeoning workforce. Construction
at area campuses, whether smaller liberal arts schools or major
universities, continues apace. While tuckpointing or reroofing
aging structures is an ongoing challenge most everywhere, projects
costing hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars
have been completed, are under way or in the planning stages
within 50 miles of St. Louis, to all four points of the compass.
Who’s paying for all this? It depends on whether the institutions
are public or private, of course. In the public arena, bond
issues help foot the bill for some projects, state and/or federal
allocations for others. Grateful alumni with deep pockets, not
to mention innovative development directors with inroads to
the corporate community, are key to projects coming to fruition
at private schools.
As it is the case with highway construction, if campus projects
aren’t continuously moving forward, the effect is a zero sum
game: The students you don’t enroll go elsewhere. To wit: A
St. Louis College of Pharmacy spokeswoman says campus and building
projects completed in 2003 are already at capacity. The college
is presently conducting a space analysis to consider alternatives
to increase classroom space and student housing for the future.
(Editor’s note: As with any of our “roundup” articles, we’ve
tried to be as even-handed as possible and diligent to not compare
an apple to an orange—for instance, in this case, renovation
of a facility to construction of a brand-new, $60-million building.
Taken together, we estimate that within the last 18 months approximately
$1 billion has been expended or earmarked for expansion of colleges
and universities region-wide. Institutions from a few hundred
to many thousand students all contribute to this collegiate
East Central College
Groundbreaking ceremonies were to be held in October in Union,
Mo., for a 51,800-square-foot building to accommodate growth
in ECC’s nursing, emergency medical services and science programs.
In August 2006, ECC district voters approved a $15.8 million
bond issue to finance a new multipurpose building to include
classrooms, labs, and equipment.
The building will house two lecture halls; one to accommodate
80 students and the other to seat 50. There also will be eight
science labs, five classrooms, three nursing labs, an ambulance
bay, three computer labs, science stock rooms and prep rooms,
offices and a conference room.
Harris-Stowe State University
The groundbreaking ceremony for a new Early Childhood education
building at Harris-Stowe was set for Oct. 19. The project is
estimated to cost $17.8 million. Details were incomplete at
Construction of Lindenwood’s $32 million Center for the Fine
and Performing Arts is under way, set for completion next spring.
The 130,000-square-foot building will feature a 1,200-seat main
auditorium for theater, music, dance, lectures and other events.
A main gallery will showcase student art and professional exhibits,
and will double as a reception area for events in the auditorium.
The building is also designed to provide a hands-on learning
environment for students studying to be educators and technicians.
There will be classrooms of varying sizes, a 150-seat black-box
theater, music practice rooms, fashion design studio, production
design studio, high-tech video suite, vocal music hall and instrumental
Logan College of Chiropractic
Logan recently completed an 18-month, $22.5 million capital
improvement project that included the development of the William
D. Purser Center, a 47,000-square-foot learning facility and
business conference facility. The Purser Center project is the
largest capital improvement program the college has ever undertaken.
Logan also plans to build a new 6,500-square-foot student center
on its suburban Chesterfield campus. College officials expect
the $3.5-million project, to be funded through private donations,
will be completed in late 2008.
“The increased demand for chiropractic healthcare services and
Logan’s growth in student population led to the expansion,”
says Dr. George A. Goodman, Logan’s president. With 1,100 students,
Logan has evolved into the second-largest chiropractic college
or university in North America.
Goodman added that the 112-acre campus is ideally situated as
a community gathering place, reflected in the number of bookings—ranging
from symphony concerts to wedding receptions and business meetings.
Maryville completed a $150,000 renovation of its library over
Genie McKee, Ph.D., dean of the library, pointed out that college
students have grown accustomed to bookstores like Borders, which
offer both comfortable accoutrements and functional workspaces.
The centerpiece is the transformation of the first floor into
an Information Commons area, providing students, and library
faculty and staff, with the latest technology. Two years ago,
the Library went wireless to allow patrons the convenience of
using laptop computers.
St. Louis Community College
SLCC’s Wildwood campus opened in August with more than 1,200
students. Offerings include associate degrees in general transfer
studies, business administration and teaching, as well as introductory
career and technical-education courses, continuing-education
and developmental courses needed to attain degrees. A partnership
between SLCC and the University of Missouri-St. Louis will enable
students to complete bachelor’s degrees in business administration,
liberal studies or elementary education.
The initial 75,000-square-foot building houses high-tech classrooms
and labs, library, bookstore, student services, lounges, a multipurpose
room and rooms equipped with sophisticated presentation and
Web-based technologies. High-speed Internet access is available
via cable as well as wireless connectivity within and around
SLCC-Wildwood is the region’s first “green”-roofed college building.
Topped by trays of sedum—a drought-tolerant plant with water-storing
leaves to help prevent heat absorption, the roof is key to SLCC’s
bid to qualify the campus for gold-level LEED* certification.
In 1998, SLCC purchased 66 acres in Wildwood for approximately
$3.9 million; construction cost approximately $18 million.
Meanwhile, in north St. Louis SLCC has proposed building a new
home for William J. Harrison Northside Education Center. The
projected $10-million, 30,000 square-foot school would house
four general-purpose classrooms, lab space, administrative offices,
and common areas for students, staff and community members.
SLCC will pursue LEED* certification for this project, as well.
Academic offerings will concentrate on computers/technology,
childcare, environmental sciences and allied health.
The Center’s new location is along Cass Avenue adjacent to Vashon
High School and Clyde C. Miller Academy. SLCC plans for the
synergy of the three institutions to leverage scarce educa-tional
resources and establish learning partnerships.
Saint Louis University
SLU continues to be the focus of a dramatic transformation in
midtown. Projects worth more than $160 million are under way.
And a neighborhood redevelopment project aims to knit the university
and surrounding area together even more tightly. Benefits include
new investment, jobs and secondary development.
The University in June signed a letter of intent with McCormack
Baron Salazar and with Philadelphia-based U3 Ventures to develop
concepts for University-owned property at the entrance to Grand
Center. Plans for the property include mixed-use development
that includes retail, entertainment, office, and condominiums.
A survey conducted by the University shows a high interest in
for sale residential in the area.
“This is an extremely important development for both Saint Louis
University and Midtown St. Louis,” says The Rev. Lawrence Biondi,
SLU president. “We want to continue to grow and enhance the
areas around our campus.”
The property includes a vacant parcel at the intersection of
Grand and Lindell and the former Missouri State Office Building
at 3545 Lindell. The two properties comprise 4.3 acres.
Since the development project was announced, renowned architect
Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos has been selected to develop
design concepts for the project. Officials emphasize SLU’s commitment
to development that will enhance the campus experience for students,
faculty and staff, as well as bring new people to the area to
• Chaifetz Arena, an $81-million project, is slated to open
in April. It will seat 10,600 and not only be a true home court
for Billikens basketball, but also a perfect location for concerts,
shows and other events.
• Edward A. Doisy Research Center, a 10-story building of 206,000
square feet, is the largest building project in SLU’s history:
$82 million. The distinctive, triangular-shaped building of
glass and steel will connect by a covered walkway to the School
of Medicine, where more research facilities are being renovated.
The nine-acre site at Grand and Chouteau will be landscaped
with a stream, fountain and Zen garden. The project is seeking
LEED* Silver certification, given by the U.S. Green Building
Council, the nation’s leader in certification of sustainable
buildings. The Center aims to further research discoveries in
cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease
and vaccine development.
Doisy will be the eastern anchor of CORTEX (the Center of Research,
Technology & Entrepreneurial Exchange), the public-private economic
initiative striving to further the world-class biotech industry
that continues to emerge throughout the region. Invest-ment
in Doisy Research Center boosts SLU’s ability to recruit and
retain the best and brightest science researchers.
Clayco Construction Co. is the general contractor; the architect
is Cannon Design.
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
In September, the Illinois Senate passed a capital program including
$69.5 million for a long-anticipated second science building
at SIUE. At press time officials were awaiting action by the
state House and were confident the bill would be signed by the
SIU President Glenn Poshard said the science building is among
several “projects that are desperately needed to replace outdated
and overcrowded buildings.”
Evergreen Hall, the newest of SIUE’s residence halls, was completed
in time for fall. Cost was approximately $41 million for the
190,000-square-foot, three-story dorm intended to house 500-plus
In late September, SIUE’s planned $16.6-million Student Success
Center was given the go-ahead. Construction of the 66,000-square-foot
center is slated to begin in spring 2008 with an expected completion
date of June 2009.
Meanwhile, SIUE’s board was considering project and budget approval
for $6 million in improvements to the sports facility, Vadalabene
Center. Other pending projects include expanding the Student
Fitness Center and renovating the university bookstore.
Several projects are also on tap for SIUE’s University Park,
home to the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC),
including a proposed American Red Cross Blood Processing Center
and National Testing Laboratory.
Southwestern Illinois College
A new academic building is under construction on SWIC’s Belleville
campus, and the Fire Sciences Training Center is being expanded.
Both are slated for completion early next year. Also, pending
approval, a mixed-use project is on tap for construction next
spring on an eastern section of the campus.
More than $7.7 million in Illinois state funds are earmarked
for the 46,000-square-foot academic building. Another $792,806
will fund the 4,500-square-foot addition to the existing fire
The new building will provide 16 high-tech classrooms, a computer
lab and offices for the Social Sciences department. Barnes and
Noble will also expand with a 5,000-square-foot bookstore.
Subject to the negotiation of a final agreement approved by
the SWIC board, Koman Properties of Clayton will develop The
Shoppes at College Square. This $60 million to $70 million project
is expected to offer approximately 400,000 square feet of mixed-use
space designed, in part, to offer SWIC students access to enhanced
In May 2006, SWIC acquired a 156-acre parcel east of the campus
for expansion consistent with its long-range plan.
“We determined that the 23-acre parcel was not needed for educational
or facility use and that there would be advantages to introducing
additional retail and other services to our college campus environment,”
says Elmer H. Kirchoff, SWIC president.
Plans are to feature popular retailers and restaurants appealing
to the student body, faculty and staff as well as area residents.
University of Missouri- St. Louis
UMSL recently opened a six-story, 130,000-square-foot residence
hall that accommodates more than 430 students. Oak Hall features
four-bedroom suites; each resident has a private room. Amenities
include a heated outdoor pool, convenience store, laundry facilities
and game rooms. The price tag was $26 million. Kozeny-Wagner
was the general contractor.
To complement Oak Hall, UMSL is building a $6.5 million, 320-space
parking structure. Designed by PB Buildings and constructed
by Tarlton Corp., the project includes a new façade for the
College of Nursing building.
UMSL is also working with HOK on conceptual plans to renovate
its science complex. The $28.5-million project is part of Gov.
Matt Blunt’s Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative.
Express Scripts Inc.’s corporate headquarters opened in June
in UMSL’s, Business, Technology and Research Park. ESI is the
first tenant in the 100-acre park along I-70.
“The shortest distance between two points is under construction,”
is a quip attributed to author Leo Aikman. As a reporter for
The Record at Wash U. has observed, Aikman very well could have
been talking about the Danforth Campus.
Four major construction projects are under way or have recently
been completed: the William H. and Elizabeth Gray Danforth Center,
Central Underground Parking Garage, Social Sciences/Law building
and Steinberg Hall renovation.
The parking garage will add 535 spaces on three underground
levels. The lower two are open, but the top won’t be ready until
Danforth Center is completed overhead.
At an approximate cost of $41 million, the three-story, 116,000-square-foot
collegiate Gothic building is scheduled to open for the fall
2008 semester. Designed as a “green” structure, to be LEED*
gold-certified, Danforth Center was designed by Tsoi/Kobus and
Associates of Cambridge, Mass., and is being built by Clayco
of St. Louis. Construction is being supported in part by gifts
from the Danforth Foundation, A.G. Edwards and the Harry Edison
The four-story Social Sciences/Law building is also expected
to be ready for fall 2008. Projected cost for the 150,000-square-foot
building is $38.4 million.
The university plans to renovate or replace the residence halls
during the next four to five years. Steinberg Hall’s renovation
was completed in time for its auditorium to be used this fall.
Construction began in May on a hall east of Millbrook Square
Apartments. Village East Housing will add about 152 beds in
apartment-style living, mainly for upperclassmen.
Goldfarb Hall and Mudd/Park Resi-dential College are undergoing
upgrades. Goldfarb—home of the George Warren Brown School of
Social Work—had its lobby renovation completed last summer,
providing a main front door as well as a much-needed community
space. Renovations to Mudd/Park will add 57 beds to Park Residence
The University last summer completed renovating a former synagogue
at 560 Trinity Ave. that it had purchased in 2005 for $4.9 million.
The 560 Music Center provides additional space for the Music
and Performing Arts departments, and houses the 1,115-seat E.
Desmond Lee Concert Hall—now the largest performance space on
At the Medical School, projects include the orthopedic outpatient
center completed in Chesterfield last summer. Plans for a new
building on the School of Medicine campus were to be unveiled
Washington University Orthopedics and Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s
$13-million outpatient orthopedic facility is an imposing presence
just to the north of I-64/U.S. 40. The first surgical procedure
took place there July 25.
The 60,000-square-foot center offers one-stop outpatient care,
including ambulatory surgery suites, diagnostic radiology and
rehabilitation together with hand therapies. It has been selected
for LEED* certification.
Why the frenetic development? Two years ago, Wash U.’s chancellor
told Commerce that his university’s top minds are in demand
across the country and around the world—not only to lecture
or present research, but also to switch their allegiance.
Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D., compared the challenge to that of a
baseball team owner who had to deal with every player being
up for free agency—every single year.
“That remains true,” Wrighton observed recently. “Capital projects
are essential in areas related to research, not only to recruit
great people, but provide excellent facilities for them to do
their best work.”
Webster’s two new residence halls opened in the fall of 2006.
West Hall and East Hall added 343 students to the on-campus
residential community, raising it to 623. The halls incorporate
new philosophies about dorm life.
“In the 1960s and ’70s, colleges had two criteria: To maximize
density and for the buildings to last 70 to 80 years,” says
John Buck, associate dean of students and housing director.
Today, says Buck, dorms are built more for community than longevity.
Mackey Mitchell and Associates of St. Louis designed the residence
halls, as well as a new home for the Community Music School.
In October 2006, CMS moved its headquarters from University
City to a new 26,000-square-foot building on the Webster campus
just east of the Loretto-Hilton Center. CMS serves nearly 2,500
students, with a wide range of offerings for all ages and skill
Expansion at Webster, as at any campus, is geared to future
student and community needs. Planning for both takes passion
and a singular vision.
“Today’s campus growth includes both physical and technological
expansion,” says Richard Meyers, Webster president. “The merging
of bricks, mortar and technology into a holistic approach to
form and function is our vision for future growth.”
HITS THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD
If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, the Construction
Careers Center (CCC) should be very flattered these days.
New Orleans is one of several cities that has borrowed heavily
from the model of St. Louis’ novel, industry-supported charter
school that entices young men and women as early as fifth
grade to consider construction as a career. Reno, Nev.,
is another, and a third is under consideration in New England,
says Len Toenjes, president of the Associated General Contractors
of St. Louis (AGC).
The Class of 2006 was the third for CCC, which got the go-ahead
from the Missouri State School Board in January 2001. At
the time, the national Engineering News-Record noted in
a story about the kickoff that a lot of work needed to be
done before the project got off the ground, not the least
of which was the purchase and renovation of a vacant school
building in a deteriorating part of town.
“The ENR reporter came back four years later to do a follow-up,”
Toenjes recalls. “She remembered the neighborhood as it
was then, so was sitting outside and called to say the cab
driver took her to the wrong address.
“I told her to come right on in.”
The board’s goal of 500 students is not far off, Toenjes
says. Enrollment increased from 380 to 445 this year, the
largest ever, with 80 kids on the waiting list.
The circa-1930s building was built as a middle school, and
the City schools were using it for storage when the AGC
took possession. The roof was about the only part of the
building that had held up, and Toenjes notes that it might
have been cheaper to raze it and rebuild. Ah, hindsight.
Modern requirements such as environmental and ADA concerns
had to be addressed: The windows had lead in them, the electrical
The project was handled in phases, so the student body has
grown into the building one year at a time. Toenjes learned
recently that there are more students than lockers, which
isn’t the worse problem to have.
Although the City schools have oversight, as a charter school
CCC isn’t eligible for local money. But the community has
As Toenjes puts it, the project continues to carry on through
“fundraising, contributions, and prayer.”
The school is like many other high schools, but with an
emphasis on relevant math and science to help kids develop
the skills to pay the bills upon graduation. Some go on
to seek engineering degrees, but the majority are ready
to put on a hardhat and seek work on local projects, of
which there’s no shortage nowadays.
After high school, St. Louis has an abundance of well-regarded
training programs for hourly workers, supervisors, and business
owners. CCC aims to hook up every graduate with a local
apprenticeship program. This isn’t a rubber-stamp process,
by any means.
“If you look at specific trades, you can find shortages,”
Toenjes acknowledges. “But when you get the 20,000-foot
view, we’re fortunate in having good labor- management relations
that have resulted in a good standard of living, which is
attractive to people; and we have a good diverse economic
base, so people can work continuously.”