Academic Hall construction on the campus of  Normal School (now known as Southeast Missouri State University)
While Mr. Regenhardt spent eleven and one-half months more in the construction of this building than was allotted him by contract, this extra time was not wholly wasted or spent to the detriment of the state, but to the contrary; the character and solidity of the building largely compensates for this apparent waste of time. I am glad to inform you that there is not a crack or settlement in the entire building and to further say that in my thirty-seven years of experience in the construction of good buildings and my personal observation of other architect's work, it is only building that I knew of without a crack or settlement.
Jerome Legg, Architect
August 1, 1903, The Regents of the Cape Girardeau Normal School announced they would accept bids for the new administration building of the school.
• Lynn K Atkinson, Colorado Springs, Colorado - $176,000
• Nicholas Pettigrew, St. Louis, $175,752
Regenhardt and Maule, Cape Girardeau, $174,840
• Southern Illinois Construction Company, $190,590

The Board accepted the bid of the Cape Girardeau firm.
Edward had formed a partnership with Evert P. Maule, a building and engineering contractor in St. Louis in the 1890s.  While Academic Hall was being built, he dissolved the partnership by buying out Mr. Maule's share of the business.
 
From the School Bulletin in 1903:
Academic Hall will be 260 feet long by 176 feet deep at the center and 3 stories high.  It will be built in the classic style of architecture. It will have 27 general classrooms; a suite of 3 rooms for ladies societies, Young Men's Christian Association and Young Women's Christian Association; two museums; ample locker rooms, toilet rooms, and bathrooms; 2 gymnasiums, 84 feet by 41 feet,  and an auditorium with seating for over a thousand, and a library with 7,000 square feet of space.

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Construction began in September 1903, and was above ground by May 1904.
Notwithstanding the inclement weather and wet spring the work has been pushed and all foundations laid, together with the extensive system of hot and cold ducts - a wonderful labyrinth of underground tunnels through which the hot and cold air passes from the power house to the halls and rooms above and the drainage pipes for the sanitary and other purposes are all laid and ready for use.  In the construction of these wide tunnels and foundations over 1,000 cubic yards of concrete has been  used.  This alone is a wonderful piece of architectural skill and method. In addition to that, under the watchful eye of Mr. Page, the first, second, and third courses of white marble blocks, from three to six feet in length, fifteen inches in height are being laid, and the large window frames of the basement set and being built in place.  The foundation of this building alone covers a space of one acre. - Cape Girardeau Democrat May 21, 1904

A letter to the local newspaper, the Cape Girardeau Democrat, urged dedication of a cornerstone at the northeast corner of the new building, but there was never any cornerstone dedication.

In the summer of 1905, a watchman was employed by the contractor to safeguard the building when workmen were not there.  Academic Hall was a source of pride for the community and the school's president , W. S. Dearmont.  He was taking a few of his friends though the building after hours.  They had visited several rooms before being discovered by the watchman, Mr. Lowe, who informed them it was against the rules to allow anyone in the building after six o'clock in the evening. Lowe insisted the men leave, and when they failed to do so, he raised his voice to Dearmont as he proceeded to take his friends to other rooms. Again Lowe insisted the men leave, and when they failed to do so, he struck Dearmont in the face.  As the President tried to defend himself with his umbrella, he was struck again, the second blow breaking his jaw. A warrant was obtained, the watchman was arrested and then released on bond, but the injury to Dearmont was serious enough to confine him to his home for several weeks. Lowe was acquitted on assault charges.



Memo to Ed Regenhardt from the building architect, J. B. Legg regarding transfer of keys to the building. PDF file format - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from Adobe.

On January 12, 1906, J. B. Legg reported to the Board of Regents that the building was completed.
While Mr. Regenhardt spent eleven and one-half months more in the construction of this building than was allotted him by contract, this extra time was not wholly wasted or spent to the detriment of the state but to the contrary; the character and solidity of the building largely compensates for this apparent waste of time.  I am glad to inform you that there is not a crack or settlement in the entire building and to further say that in my thirty-seven years of experience in the construction of good buildings and my personal observation of other architect's work, it is the only building that I know of without a crack or settlement. - Board of  Regents - Executive Committee Minutes, January 12, 1906, Report of architect J. B. Legg.

Legg recommended the Regents support a relief measure  in favor of contractor Regenhardt, in the amount of $11,071.92, which had been assessed under a penalty clause of the contract.  The Board did not have any authority to help, but agreed to support him if he applied to the legislature.

The following documents are in PDF file format - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from Adobe.
The state officially accepted the building on Wednesday, January 24, 1906, with formal ceremonies and speeches by Louis Houck, President of the Board of Regents, and President Dearmont.