Memorial Hall Study

Memorial Hall Study Webpage Header

The City of Joplin hired SFS Architecture to perform a study about the future possible uses of Memorial Hall. The City was interested in taking a creative and innovative approach to reviewing the needs of the community, the possible future options for Memorial Hall, while obtaining open-ended public input about the options. 

The goal of the City was to obtain public input, while utilizing industry knowledge, in determining the best recommended use of Memorial Hall on behalf of the community well into the future.

Project Background

For nearly 100 years, Memorial Hall has played a diverse role in our community. It was built in 1925 as a war veteran memorial to honor the men and women who gave their lives for our freedoms. It has served as the mainstay to welcome home our soldiers and still today provides a gathering place for veterans’ activities and meetings. Through the years, citizens attended concerts, plays, sporting events and community programs.  With such a wide history of events, it holds many memories for the community. Unfortunately, this 95-year-old building has fallen in disrepair.

In most recent years, utilization of Memorial Hall has evolved with new venues opening such as several area casinos that now offer concerts and other productions once hosted in Joplin. Joplin Schools included a performing arts center to seat nearly 1,200 people when it rebuilt in 2014. In 2022, Connect 2 Culture will open the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex just north of Memorial Hall. The Cornell Complex will offer a 450-seat performance hall and other amenities. With these additions in our community, it is time for the City to take a fresh look at the future of Memorial Hall to better serve our community.

The City is interested to hear from citizens on what they believe should be done with this facility and property and have hired SFS Architecture to conduct a thorough study of Memorial Hall. This firm will lead a team of consultants to perform a building conditions assessment, conduct a market analysis, seek community feedback and guidance, evaluate a variety of options based on the feedback received, and provide a business plan and cost estimate for the recommended future use of the facility located at 212 West 8th Street. This study will include an assessment and recommendation for future parking needs depending upon the option that is advanced.

Study Purpose

The City has asked SFS Architecture to evaluate and answer the following questions: 

  • Provide a structural analysis of Memorial Hall
  • What is the appropriate use of Memorial Hall or this area in general? 
  • Can our community support the facility as a concert venue, considering the current arrangement with Connect2Culture for Memorial Hall and their plans for the facility? 
  • Should Memorial Hall be remodeled for a different purpose, such as a multi-purpose civic center providing space for community/civic use, parks department programming, meeting space, limited sports programming space, usage by veterans group, small convention space opportunities, and/or emergency operations use? Are there other possible uses?
  • Analyze and discuss what is available in the community for concert type venues, such as Missouri Southern State University facilities, Joplin R-VIII School District facilities, the surrounding casino’s, and the Cornell Cultural Center. 
  • Analyze and discuss what is available in the community for civic uses or meeting space, etc.

Community Engagement

  • Three community surveys and three public meetings were held for citizen engagement during the study. Results from these surveys and meetings can be found in the final report.
  • SFS Architecture presented the final report to City Council at the January 11, 2021 work session.