CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - In the northeast corner of Parker Field at Southeast Missouri State University, site preparation is underway for a National Pan-Hellic Council Plaza.
The Plaza is designed to highlight NPHC groups and their history at the university, as well as provide a space for student recreation.
The NPHC governs and represents eight historically African-American fraternities and sororities at Southeast, including Alpha Phi Alpha, Iota Phi Theta, Omega Psi Phi and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta sororities.
"The intent is for the Plaza to serve as an outdoor gathering area and a space where outdoor events can be held," said Dr. Bruce Skinner, associate vice president for student life. "It will allow student events to be hosted in this area as the plaza will have lighting and electrical access for students to use."
The focal point of the Plaza is a circular patio partially bordered by a low concrete wall with markers. These markers present information about each of the eight NPHC chapters at Southeast. From the central patio, a landscaped set of four terraces fall away in a concentric semi-circular pattern and each terrace is bounded by a low concrete wall. The lower terrace is also a hardened surface and the overall design includes shade trees. The space is meant to serve as an event venue and informal recreation space.
"The major benefit, outside of an outdoor gathering area, is the effort by the University and NPHC students to improve the profile of these student groups and their history at Southeast," said Skinner. "The NPHC Plaza highlights the work of NPHC students and alumni on the Southeast campus."
Students in Southeast's NPHC organizations helped develop the design of the Plaza by sharing examples of plots and gardens at other colleges and universities that have similar areas recognizing NPHC organizations. An architect took those designs, developed a variety of different concepts and shared them with NPHC students. Then the university and students came together to choose the final design.
The eastern edge of the Plaza features a hardened surface ramp to provide ADA accessibility between the patio and the lower terrace. The ramp will also satisfy a portion of accessibility along the central pedestrian corridor.
Landscape architecture firm SWT Design of St. Louis developed the design. Nip Kelley Equipment Company of Cape Girardeau will serve as the general contractor and will be involved with storm drainage and concrete flatwork. KT Power Systems of Cape Girardeau will provide the electrical work, and Kiefner Brothers, Inc. of Cape Girardeau will perform the remaining concrete work. Engraphix Architectural Signage, Inc. of St. Louis will provide signage and plaques.