Bowman Hall: ‘a place for the people’

Bowman Hall: a place for the people

Bowman Hall: ‘a place for the people’

Colby Williams

College is a time to meet lifelong friends through extracurricular activities and nightlife, but some quickly become jaded with the usual college experience. A group of such students at Missouri Southern found common ground, however.

Across from Blaine Hall stands a gazebo, known to its inhabitants as Bowman Hall. One who visits the structure at night, however, will quickly be corrected: “Blaine Hall is across from the gazebo. The gazebo is not across from Blaine Hall.”

Filled with athletes, musicians, honors students and those struggling to get by, the gazebo originally offered just a spot to smoke, but has become so much more.

“Cigarettes saved my life,” said Mike the Giant, a sophomore undecided major. “I was afraid I wasn’t going to meet anyone in college.

“The first time I was attracted to the gazebo was when I saw people smoking cigarettes. Then the people kept me here. I made a lot of friends here my freshmen year. That’s the reason I came back.”

Now, a group gathers within the small, wooden shelter every night for stories about life, love and old friends. They share smokes and beverages and pass around whatever snacks are available, such as peanut butter on a fork.

“I think the gazebo is like fuckin’ gravity,” said Alycia Allen, senior theatre major. “People walk around it, and some get drawn in. It’s because of the good conversation. I thought they were too cool for me at first, but no, they’re fuckin’ losers!”

In the Fall of 2006, Justin Terry, an English major, thought the gazebo looked like a good place to take smoke breaks. Others soon joined him and became acquainted. Eventually, anywhere from 15-25 people joined in daily.

Now, two years later, Terry is known as the “Godfather” and continues the tradition with pride. New faces come and go, but a few mainstays consider the group a permanent social scene on campus. Known to others as “Pavilion Children,” the members of the group call themselves the PKA, which stands for “pop a kap in yo ass.” The nickname refers to a rivalry they assumed a year ago with the Kappa Alphas, although representatives of KA refute the claim.

“Us and the KAs are still not on good terms,” said Terry, now somewhere between a freshmen and a junior. “One of our friends had a confrontation at a party with a girl, and the frat boys didn’t like it. So there was a brawl. They’ll still come over and write shit on the gazebo, and we’ll fuck with their cups.”

KA denies any such event.

Nightly, as a guitar and djembe lead the group in 90s tunes through a cloud of various aromas, the “frarority” continues to attract newcomers.

“It’s like a church,” said Josh Klugh, junior English and Spanish major. “People funnel in 10 minutes late, because they know they should be, even though it’s a little late. Something true about the gazebo is it’s not one culture. People from all different backgrounds are here. It doesn’t matter ’cause they’re cool.”

Klugh is one of two regulars who are part of the Honors Program, though he suggests they don’t fit in with the rest of the Honors students.

“I’m a back row kind of guy, and this is the back row of the world,” he said. “We’re the kind of guys no one likes, but we don’t care.”

In an attempt to immortalize their experience at the gazebo, Mike the Giant and Roger Morse, sophomore education major, recently recorded a rap song, which is available at

“It’s about the group, PK,” Mike said. “Me and Roger dig on Hip Hop and decided to make a rap. It explains the lifestyle, feelings and type of people that hang at the gazebo. It also throws in our arch nemesis.”

Part social scene and part a simple place to smoke, the gazebo awaits as a haven for those not in step with the usual march of college life. A place for the people, as the PKA says, this spot on campus continues its rich heritage with open arms.