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Schrage ’94 Key in Commons Construction


Pictured: Steve Schrage '94, Project Manager for the construction of the Si Commons. (Photo by Mr. Matt Sciuto.)

Among the many individuals who were instrumental in the design and construction of the Si Commons were a few of SLUH’s own alumni.  Steve Schrage, a member of SLUH’s Class of 1994, served as the project manager for the $4.9-million project.

After graduating from SLUH, Schrage earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He has been working at BSI Constructors, the contractor for the construction of the Si Commons, for the past 12 years.

Following are some of Schrage’s responses to questions regarding the project.

How did you enjoy working on the Si Commons project, and what was your role?

As the project manager for the job, my role was to oversee the schedule, budget, and quality of the construction.  Over a year before we started actual construction, I worked with SLUH and the architect at developing estimates and offering commentary on constructability as the design progressed.  I solicited bids from subcontractors and worked at coordinating their work while analyzing manpower requirements and sequencing of the project.  I also interacted with SLUH and the architect as changes were made throughout the project to further enhance the final product.

What were some of the challenges?

One of the biggest challenges in a renovation is facing the unknown. There aren’t always adequate drawings available of the existing facilities and even when there are, they are not always the most accurate.  Additionally, for a place like SLUH, this project involved working in and around multiple structures from the original school building built in the 20s, the Backer gym built in the 50s, the Library built in the 80s, and the theater and band addition built in the 90s.  We had to work with what was there and integrate it into the modern facility you see today.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the new Commons?

I really like the new entrance with the limestone lettering as well as the new SLUH shop.  I also think the wall of glass is a very impressive aspect to the room and I like how it brings the outside in.  And, I believe the new Servery will be more efficient and useful.

Working with the SLUH staff has been great.  David Laughlin, Joe Rankin, Rick Figge and everyone else are top-notch professionals with whom it is a pleasure to work.   This was my second project for SLUH, the first being the Danis Field House, and it is an honor to be a part of the future here.  I really enjoyed my time as a student at SLUH and coming back as an alumnus and being able to use my skills to help advance the school’s mission, even in a small way, is very rewarding for me.  I look forward to coming back to all of my reunions and telling folks the ‘behind the scenes’ stories of the Si Commons project.


Other SLUH alumni who were instrumental in the completion of the Si Commons include Steve DeHekker ’78, Vice President at Hastings & Chivetta Architects, Inc., and Joe Rankin ’83, SLUH Director of Facilities.