Houck Stadium at Southeast Missouri State University
On college campuses across the country, fall means football.
And in the summer of 2020, the athletics department at Southeastern Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, received some concerning news. While inspecting the grandstands in the football stadium, a structural engineer noted falling concrete and deemed the structure unsafe for use.
Shortly thereafter, a project kicked off to renovate historic Houck Field, home of the SEMO Redhawks and its original structure dating back to 1930.
Working with the Kansas City office of Hollis + Miller Architects, OWN, Inc. provided Civil Engineering and Land Surveying services on the project.
Knowing it would take some time to construct the new seating, the school brought in temporary stands to accommodate fans throughout the season as design and planning commenced. OWN went beyond by shaving a couple of months off the design process, delivering drawings in 4 months, about twice as fast as usual.
These designs were sent for bid in January of 2022 – just as inflationary pressures mounted in the construction world – and came back double the budget. The design team went back to the drawing board to find a solution that worked within the constraints of the athletic department’s coffers.
The solution? A unitized structure with seating for 10,000 and separate buildings beneath for concessions and restrooms.
Once approved, the project rolled out in phases:
- Phase 1 – Work began in December of 2021 to demo the existing grandstand, along with key underground utility upgrades, in preparation for the new structure; existing utilities were removed, and new utilities were installed during the demo phase, to coordinate with field turf drainage and other key facilities that needed to remain in service during construction
- Phase 2 – Construction of the redesigned grandstand structure began in September of 2022, along with additional utility and site improvements, which included additional storm drainage, a new public water main, accessible walkways and entrance drive, and reconstruction of the parking adjacent to the field
- Phase 3 – After unveiling the new grandstand in August of 2023, the school hopes to add a press box soon thereafter
Typical of college campuses, location of existing utilities and determination of drainage patterns can be challenging. Research efforts by OWN included review of existing archive plans along with field work on site during the design stage. During construction, OWN worked with the Contractor to provide adjusted design solutions to address additional unknowns that were discovered.
While the project is still underway, Redhawks fans are looking forward to completion, and watching in anticipation of the years of memories that will be made at Houck Stadium for years to come.