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SEMO’s Power Plant Conversion Gets Final Touch

Marine Perot
Renovations at the old SEMO power plant

The old grey power plant in the middle of Southeast Missouri State University’s main campus is undergoing a facelift. The project to update the power plant will be completed during the fall semester.

Back in 2010 the Board of Regents approved funds for diverse maintenance projects on Southeast’s campus. This included the renovation of Academic and McGill Halls as well as the project to convert the power plant from coal to the use of natural gas.

The project that is being completed now costs about $1.6 million, and is funded through the 2010 bond.

Kathy Mangels, Vice President for Finance and Administration at Southeast, said the current construction at the power plant will wrap up the project.

“What you currently see happening right now is now that we no longer need the equipment that was related to the coal operation, we are taking that equipment off of the boiler plant,” she said.

The conversion was completed over a year ago. Now to complete the facility, other maintenance needs to be done, like replacing the roof and the windows. The last part of the project also includes the replacement of the Brandt staircase, located between the power plant and Brandt Hall, which is considered too steep.

The stairs will be expanded and will double in width, have a large landing area in the middle with benches, lighting and an emergency phone.

The power plant’s new exterior will make it look less industrial.

“When you actually look at the exterior of the boiler plant we will be cleaning the exterior, and painting over the facade, that will kind of be two tone tan colored effect and give us the opportunity to maybe put up a large banner with the university’s name on the side that’s visible from Towers and the east side of campus,” she added.

Mangels said there will be some areas over the summer where foot traffic will have to be diverted, but the Brandt staircase should be open by the time the next fall semester will start.


Marine Perot was a KRCU reporter for KRCU in 2014.