CMU Prepares For Stedman Hall Of Science Renovation

Continued fundraising success moves plan ahead by a year

February 17, 2017

For more than 50 years, Central Methodist University students have received much of their education in classrooms and laboratories within the Samuel L. Stedman Hall of Science on CMU’s Fayette campus. While many have come and gone, Stedman Hall has remained largely unchanged.

Since it opened in 1963, there have been no major renovations to the 58,000 square foot building. With the exception of a few minor enhancements here and there, overall, the five-story structure housing classrooms, laboratories and offices, has remained in its original state. But not for long.

Central Methodist University officials are excited to announce a major Stedman Hall of Science renovation project expected to begin with a demolition of a portion of the building’s interior in May. Construction of improvements is projected to kick off in September of 2017, with an estimated completion goal for the $9.5 million project set for fall 2018.

The original plan was to begin in May of 2018, and finish by August of 2019. But CMU has received such impacting donor support that this project has been moved ahead an entire year, according to CMU President Roger Drake.

“We are excited about this significant investment in the academic experience of our students,” Drake said. “In a renovated Stedman Hall of Science, we will offer our students the best of equipment and learning resources while maintaining our current level of innovative teaching and active caring.”

During the renovation, the building will be closed, and classroom and laboratory learning that would usually take place there will temporarily be shifted to other facilities on campus.

The Vision

Stedman Hall

Plans surround a new front entrance and walkway on the west side of the building, major cosmetic upgrades within, a new roof, and external improvements. The outer structure of the building will remain largely unchanged. A new heating and cooling system, modernized laboratory equipment, and the addition of a passenger elevator are other planned enhancements, according to Julee Sherman, CMU vice president for finance and administration.

Interior renovations include structural work on the second floor for what is being called a “Window on the Sciences.” This area will provide a visually accessible presentation of some classrooms and labs for those who enter the building through the new, main entrance.

Major improvements to the remaining three floors and the 200-seat lecture hall will give Stedman an entirely new look, feel, and functionality. Modern, technologically-adaptable labs and classrooms will transform the learning environment.

While piecing together this expansive project, CMU focused on keeping both current and future students’ needs in the forefront of their mind. The goal is to create spaces that accommodate changes in technology and student-learning trends.  

“Others will come after us, and we need to ensure that we are preparing our facilities, not only for five years from now, but twenty and more,” said CMU Provost Rita Gulstad. “It is hard to know what is coming, but we know we need to look ahead, be flexible, and create spaces that are adaptable.” 

The project is the second phase of the Campaign for the Heart of Central, with the first being the construction of the Thogmorton Center for Allied Health in 2015. As a direct result of donor generosity and fundraising success, the Thogmorton Center was entirely paid for by the time the building opened in the fall of 2015.

The financial goal for the Stedman Hall of Science project is the same – a desire to cover much of the cost before proceeding. An estimated budget of $9.5 million was approved by CMU’s Board of Trustees in August of 2016.

While sufficient funds to begin the renovation have been committed, millions still need to be secured, according to Joshua Jacobs, CMU Vice President of Advancement and alumni relations. As with any major project, there are steps to such a process, and many moving parts that must fall into place.

“A small number of alumni and friends gave us a wonderful start toward funding this project, but now is the time for all Eagles to support the next step in our academic vision,” Jacobs said. “We are grateful for gifts of all sizes that advance science learning at Central.”

As planning proceeds, CMU will work with general contractor Coil Construction from Columbia on construction and with Trivers Associates, from St. Louis, for architectural services.

Sam Stedman and the Stedman Hall of Science

Sam Stedman

The Stedman Hall of Science was made possible through the generosity of the late Samuel Lee Stedman, a CMU alumnus from Sedalia, Mo. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from then-Central Methodist College in 1935, and was recognized for his aptitude for business.

After graduating from CMC, Stedman continued his education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business – receiving a Master of Arts degree in Business Administration. During the start of his business career with J.S. Bache and Co., Stedman pursued the study of law by taking evening classes at the City College of New York, where he obtained his Bachelor of Law degree in 1940.

After serving in the United States Army, he returned to J.S. Bache and Co. before becoming associated with the firm for which he became partner – the Carl M. Loeb, Rhoades and Co., of New York City. Stedman became incredibly successful on Wall Street, and never forgot the school in Fayette, Mo. that paved his path toward success.

As years passed by, Stedman remained loyal and generous, giving time and money to the college. In 1952, he was honored as a distinguished alumnus, and was later awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and elected a member of the Board of Curators, Central’s governing board.

Stedman gave $1 million to CMC to show his appreciation for the education he received there, and wanted the money used for a new science building on campus. His desire was for the gift to remain anonymous, but after unexpectedly dying at age 44, his wife and the Central Methodist Board of Curators decided the new science building would be designated as The Stedman Hall of Science.