Mansion slated for inside facelift

A mosaic tile fountain still remains in the Mansion.

A mosaic tile fountain still remains in the Mansion.

Nate Billings

Renovations have been planned for the original Mansion building.

Bob Harrington, director of the physical plant, said a request for proposals was sent out in early February. The proposal requests were for architectural designs and plans for the Mansion complex.

Harrington said the plan is to have the architects bring the Mansion back to its original condition.

“That whole mansion has quite a history,” said Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs.

Agee said the work on the mansion does not have a definite deadline date, and the work schedule is dependent on when the winning architect can begin.

She said the proposals will look for several items. These items include the development of a master plan, a detailed cost estimate and a timeline.

The proposals are due Monday.

The work on the interior will vary as the building has not been in demanding use for several years.

Harrington said the inside walls possibly contain lead paint and asbestos. He also said the roof and doors leak, plaster is broken and the interior is not Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

These problems will be in the consideration of the architect.

Inside the building are the original fixtures for candle-shaped electric lights, grand pianos, three fireplaces and a cascading water fountain. The fountain works, but the water has been turned off in the building.

When the building is complete, Agee and Harrington said the alumni offices will be put in the second floor and the first floor will be used for formal gatherings.

Mosaic tiles, wooden floors and large-open archways will be restored to bring the building back to its original condition.

Also, the tile roofing, which remains on the building, will be taken up carefully and replaced after the leaks in the roof are patched. The renovation process could take several months.

Harrington said the original gates will accommodate the building. The iron gates were given to Ozark Christian College several years ago, but were later returned to Missouri Southern.

The Mansion was built in the early 1920s, bought by Joplin Junior College in the 60s, and then converted to offices in the 80s. It housed both the former business offices and social sciences offices.

“It was a beautiful house,” Harrington said. “Conceptually, it’s been there a long time.”

Agee said she is looking forward to seeing the renovations take place.

“I’d like us to restore it to its original beauty and still make it usable,” she said.