Southeast University Board of Governors awards contract for Houck Multiuse Complex

The Athletic Director for Southeast Missouri State University says he is "thrilled" to move forward with a plan to rebuild Houck Field.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 11:11 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 4:31 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Governors awarded a contract for the new Houck Multiuse Complex.

The board met at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23 and authorized the administration to proceed with awarding a contract to Fager-McGee Commercial Construction out of Murphysboro, Ill.

This is for the first phase of the new complex. The $15,978,100 contact includes the construction and replacement of the south sideline and grandstand of Houck Field, as well as new seating, turf replacement, concession stands, restrooms, ADA access and associated HVAC, mechanical and other systems work.

The Southeast Mo. State Board of Governors voted to award a contract for construction on the...
The Southeast Mo. State Board of Governors voted to award a contract for construction on the first phase of the Houck Multiuse Complex.(KFVS)

“We are thrilled to move forward with the first phase of this project that will improve our football and soccer facilities which were over 90 years old,” SEMO Director of Athletics Brady Barke said.

He said the plan is to start construction around September 1.

The Southeast Mo. State Board of Governors voted to award a contract for construction on the...
The Southeast Mo. State Board of Governors voted to award a contract for construction on the first phase of the Houck Multiuse Complex.(KFVS)

You can see more renderings for the project online.

In addition to benefiting the football and soccer programs, Barke said the new facility will increase the fan experience as well.

According to Southeast, the full Houck Project will offer not only improved athletic facilities but also needed academic spaces.

“When we talk about the Houck Project, we aren’t just talking about the stadium,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “It is a multiuse complex that will include a facility with classrooms, labs, and offices to support STEM, health, life, and allied health sciences research, and academic programs.”

According to the release from Southeast, potential laboratories incorporated into the new facility may include an allied health laboratory, a biology (physiology) lab, a virtual anatomy laboratory, and a life science (biomechanics) laboratory.

In fall 2021, the university and the Southeast Missouri University Foundation identified approximately $12 million to initiate the project. This summer, Southeast received $11 million from the State of Missouri approved by Governor Mike Parson for the complex.

Vargas said an economic impact study completed in 2021 by an international labor market analytics firm found the investment won’t only benefit Southeast but also the region.

“The study found the multiuse complex would add $31 million to the economy including the construction spending impact as well as the long-term visitor spending impact which is projected to increase by nearly a quarter million dollars per year,” Vargas said.

“Once construction is underway, discussions will begin on design of the remaining phases, which will give us additional details on cost, so we can start work to fully fund the complete project,” Barke said.

Phase one of the project has an anticipated completion date of August 2023.

The Houck Field grandstand was closed to the public for safety reasons in September 2021 and demolished a couple of months later.

In March, the university announced the renovation project would not be finished by fall.

Southeast Mo. State University President Dr. Carlos Vargas announced the Houck Field south grandstand project has been delayed.

Southeast Missouri President Dr. Carlos Vargas said at the time that the university decided to not award a bid for construction because the bids “significantly exceeded the initial estimate” previously provided by the contractor’s estimator. Dr. Vargas said $8.5 million, in addition to any donations, had been allocated in rebuilding the south grandstand.