Work On CMU's Stedman Hall Under Way

The single largest renovation project in Central Methodist University’s 163-year history – in size, scope and price tag – is now full speed ahead after the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation approved a $1 million challenge grant for the Stedman Hall of Science project.

The Tulsa, Okla.-based Mabee Foundation recently informed CMU President Roger Drake of approval of the Stedman Hall grant request. The University has until June 30, 2018 to raise an additional $2.4 million to secure the grant.

“This is the most exciting part of any campaign,” Drake said. “We have the end in sight. When we successfully meet the Mabee challenge, we will be able to pay the entire cost of the renovation without any borrowing or any draw from our endowment.

“If you haven’t made a gift to the campaign, please give now so that your gift will be matched by the Mabee Foundation,” he added. “If you have already given, please consider digging a little deeper and leveraging an additional gift during the challenge period.”

Work is underway on the renovation of Stedman – one of CMU’s primary classroom and laboratory buildings - with completion anticipated by August 2018, Drake noted. The 48,000 square foot building was completed in 1964, thanks to a $1 million gift from the late Samuel Stedman, Class of 1935.

The total project is estimated to cost $9.5 million. With the clock now ticking on the Mabee gift challenge, support from CMU alumni and friends is extremely important, Drake noted.

Stedman Hall’s namesake was a legend in the financial field. Sam Stedman was featured in a 1960 edition of Fortune magazine as one of the ten most powerful men on Wall Street when he was only 44 years old. He made an anonymous pledge of $1 million to then-Central College (as CMU was known at the time) for construction of a new science hall.

Tragically, an illness claimed Stedman’s life before the project was completed. In his honor and memory, the Central governing board decided to name the structure after its benefactor.

Though still structurally sound, the building – in which virtually all CMU-Fayette students have studied at one time or another – is outdated in terms of its science labs. Its heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will be modernized, as will its technological, electrical, and plumbing systems.

One of the biggest challenges CMU has faced with the renovation project has been the temporary relocation of Stedman Hall’s science labs and classrooms, as well as office space for a significant percentage of CMU faculty.

Some of the science labs have returned to T. Berry Smith Hall, built in 1899 as the college’s principal science building. The adjustments necessary to temporarily vacate Stedman Hall, in the center of the CMU campus, have at times been inconvenient to put it mildly, Drake noted.

“I have often said that a University may rise up to the level of its faculty but cannot go beyond it,” Drake said. “That is the reason we are renovating the Stedman Hall of Science. We are bringing the building and the equipment up closer to the level of our faculty.

“There is amazing teaching and learning going on in that building now,” he continued. “I can’t wait to see what our faculty can do in the ‘new’ Stedman Hall.”

Coil Construction of Columbia has been hired as the general contractor for the project. The architect is Trivers Associates from St. Louis.

The Stedman project is the second of CMU’s two-phase, $20 million “Campaign for the Heart of Central.” The first phase involved the construction of the Thogmorton Center for Allied Health, which opened in the fall of 2015.

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