Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time Capsule: October 21, 1994

Twenty years ago today SHSU alumnus Dan Rather (’53) was in town for the renaming of the Communication Building in his honor. Rather earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Sam Houston State Teachers College and spent the following year as an instructor in journalism. The Oct. 21 edition of the Houstonian says Rather felt the honor was not one he deserves.

“I am very appreciative to [President] Martin Anisman,” Rather said. “I know in my heart of hearts it is not something I deserve. I’m trying to exercise gratitude to everyone who had anything to do with it.” Rather went on to say that “apart from my family and faith, I don’t know anything that has had such a profound impact in my life other than Sam Houston. I learned a lot at Sam Houston – a lot about myself.”

The day began for us Radio-Television-Film majors in Studio A of the Communication Building with selected students interviewing Rather on Channel 7 about his life and career. The interview was simulcast live on 90.5 KSHU. The audio of that program is below, along with some photographs of the building in the years since the dedication.

At 1:30 we assembled outside the southern entrance of the building. The ceremony began with an invocation by former SHSU president Elliott Bowers, followed by remarks from Houston television personalities Steve Smith and Ron Stone, and then the moment we all assembled for: the unveiling of the signage on the newly-christened Dan Rather Communication Building.

Then we went around to the western entrance and did it all over again. Next it was to Old Main Memorial for the reception, with punch to drink and cake to eat (with plastic forks, no less).

Rather was also quoted in the Oct. 21 Houstonian on the renaming, saying “it’s true that it’s even better than having REM song written about you. This is a monster. Don’t you think?” I do recall people running around with that REM album, trying to get their copy of Monster autographed. I don’t know how successful any of them were. (Why didn’t I think of that?)

All in all – as was often heard that Friday – it was a rather nice day. And then most of us were up early the next day for the dedication of the Sam Houston Statue.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SHSU Animal Testing Lab Construction Underway

The Huntsville Item reported (Sep. 9) that the university's new animal testing lab, or vivarium, is being constructed:
The Sycamore Vivarium will have four animal holding rooms, housing primarily mice and rats, and a procedure room. The building will hopefully be open in the spring, according to John Pascarella, dean of the College of Sciences.

“It is a replacement building for the vivarium on campus,” he said. “We needed to upgrade to get consistent environmental control. It will serve any type of research involving mice or also rats.”

The cost of the project is estimated at about $1.6 million funded by Texas State University System bonds. FKP Architects and Vaughn Construction were hired to complete the project.

Pascarella said the vivarium on campus was disbanded in the fall of 2012 until the new location could be completed. In a letter to the TSUS Board of Regents, the university said the project’s construction has an estimated completion date of December 2014.

In other campus news:
  • The university is also working on constructing a nursing wing in The Woodlands Center on the fourth floor valued at $1 million. That will provide clinical learning space to that campus, which is beginning a program targeting practicing registered nurses who are trying to get their bachelors degree. WHR Architects and Vaughn Construction are working on that project. It has an estimated completion date also in December 2014.
  • The Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center is getting nearer construction after additional funds were secured from donation funds over the 2013-14 school year. The building’s namesake donated more than $10 million for the building and the university needed to match the rest. After an $11 million donation drive, the university was able to put about $4 million into the project’s construction. The engineering building will house the future programs for the engineering technology program, as well as consolidate existing programs currently being taught in multiple location. The Lawrence Group Architects and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company are leading the project’s design and construction.
  • Design is also being worked on for the South Residential Complex and related infrastructure totaling more than $71 million. That includes two 335-bed residence halls at about 105,000 square feet for each building.

Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 State of the University Address

SHSU President Dr. Dana Hoyt addressed the university faculty and staff at the annual State of the University on September 4. The following capital projects were discussed as part of her presentation:

Completed projects:
  • Student Health and Counseling Center
  • University Camp
  • Woodlands Center Level 4 - Nursing
  • Gibbs Ranch Equine Complex
  • South Dining
  • Pirkle Engineering Technology Center
  • South Residential District
  • Innovation Plaza

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Campus Dorms Still Overcrowded

The Houstonian reports (Sep. 4) that the University Hotel has once again come to the rescue of overcrowded dormitories:
According to Dana Grant, director for Residence Life business operations, the issue stemmed from a higher than expected acceptance rate. The problem is declining thanks to new sorority members moving onto sorority hill and also because Residence Life fills vacancies caused by no-show students. However, there’s no sure date as to when every misplaced student will be in permanent housing.

Of the students who were displaced, 37 wound up staying in the University Hotel.

“We still have over assignments right now,” Grant said. “We have 74 students who are over assignments in the resident halls. Some are booked with [resident advisors] in RA rooms, and some of them are tripling.”

Those tripled up are in Estill Hall, Belvin-Buchanan Hall and White Hall.

Residence Life is also taking advantage of sorority recruitment which ended this past weekend. Those recruited were living in non-sorority dorms but will move into the houses. This frees up space for the students temporarily placed in houses on sorority hill to move into a permanent dorm somewhere else on campus.

Despite Residence Life conducting research and coordinating as much as they can, according to Grant, there is no projected date on which every student is in his or her proper housing.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

SHSU Leases Land To HEARTS Museum

The Huntsville Item reports (Aug. 30) about the university and HEARTS Veterans museum's plan for the land along northbound Interstate 45:
At last Thursday’s meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents, a lease agreement was approved between the university and the museum that grants the museum about 5 acres of the university’s land that sits adjacent to the property.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice gave the more than 80 acres to the university in the last legislative session.

A walkway will be built between the Innovation Plaza and the HEARTS Museum. The walkway would be where the Vietnam Memorial currently is and would allow easy access between the two locations.

Innovation Plaza is part of a plan long in the making that would move CMIT and LEMIT from the SHSU main campus to that location. It will also include other buildings.

The master plan for the development was also approved at the latest regents meeting.

There are three priority projects that will be the focus of the first five years of the projects.

The first is the transfer of the CMIT/LEMIT facilities. The program calls for an 83,0000 square-foot building.

The second is a six-story hotel and conference center. The hotel would hold 250 beds in a 175,000-square-foot facility and an accompanying 20,000-square-foot conference center.

The third would be a 47,500-square-foot facility that would provide correctional training for TDCJ. The goal of that building is to provide pre-service training for cadets and provide continuing education for TDCJ leadership. The new building will be built by SHSU and leased back to TDCJ.

That building would include academic training rooms, housing accommodations for up to 150 cadets, as well as a gym and mock unit block.

Phase 2 of the project includes building a university life commons after the plaza has reached “a reasonable level of development,” according to the master plan.

This will include areas for studying, dining and other activities at the heart of the location.

That phase also includes a simulation building that would allow for many different types of corrections training scenarios, which could include cell arrangements, dorm rooms, a day room and dining rooms.

August 2014 Regents Report

Today@Sam has their report on the quarterly meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents:
  • The Board authorized SHSU to acquire the property located at 1627 Sam Houston Ave. for $225,000. SHSU will renovate the existing building at the location to provide a long-term site for the Campus Mail Services.
  • The Regents authorized SHSU to enter into a Ground Lease with the H.E.A.RT.S. Veterans Museum of Texas for a 5.91 acre tract of land within the university’s property between Interstate 45 and State Highway 75.
  • The Regents approved the 2014 Innovation Plaza Master Plan for SHSU, prepared by Broaddus & Associates of Austin, Texas, and authorized the university to file the Master Plan with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SHSU To Buy Old Shipley’s Building For Expansion

The Huntsville Item reports (Aug. 26) that the SHSU post office may expand with the proposed purchase of the property at 1624 Sam Houston Avenue. It's the former location of Shipley's Donuts, north of the Houston Building *:
Julia May, director of communications at SHSU, said there is no set timetable yet for the post office move, but that the land will be used to upgrade the facilities for the campus mail services.

“The property is located in the long-term development in the campus master plan update that has already been approved,” May said. “ It will provide a long-term location for the campus mail services.”

The purchase of the property will be up for approval at the Texas State University System Board of Regents meeting happening Thursday and Friday in Austin.

The university will buy the property from Strong Properties for $225,000.

The mail services are currently located in a temporary building near the art complex on the north side of campus.

Post office functions have moved around campus over the years: from the Women's Gymnasium to the Gresham Library and then its own building in the heart of campus.  In 1993 there was a plan for its own separate building west of the student center swimming pool that was never delivered upon.  A 2006 article seemed to indicate the function would move to AB5 but that didn't happen either.  Mail services have been headquartered temporarily in their present location since 2006.

* Or, as it was twenty years ago, it's the former location of Angelo's Pizza, north of AB2.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

About Innovation Plaza

The August 2014 spotlight article in the Heritage magazine talks about the land along I-45 and how it will serve the growing university:
Last year, the Texas Legislature authorized the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to transfer to the university approximately 78 acres of land in a parcel on Highway 75 North.

Plans are to build a criminal justice complex at the location, which has been named Innovation Plaza, with initial structures for the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, the Correctional Management Institute of Texas, and a training facility for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

All the programs are currently housed on campus at the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center.

Once those programs have been relocated, the existing space will be remodeled and repurposed for academic use.

“We had been looking for property on which to locate an integrated, multi-purpose complex with a criminal justice focus,” said [SHSU Executive Vice President for Administration Al] Hooten. “As various options didn’t pan out, by happenstance, representatives from the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum approached us and mentioned the TDCJ horse pasture next to their location. The veterans museum needed about five acres to accommodate the growth of their programs.

The university is also looking forward to hearing the results of a feasibility study that will determine if a hotel and conference center will be supported at the site. Those facilities would be open to the public, and SHSU officials hope that a hotel with a brand name will be interested.

Once the current programs have moved from the Criminal Justice Center to the new facilities, approximately 150,000 square feet will be available for the expansion of academic programs and related support for the College of Criminal Justice on campus. The University Hotel will be closed down and will be used for “surge space” as remodeling takes place.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 2014 Regents Report

Today@Sam has their report on the quarterly meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents:
...[T]he university was granted authority to proceed with plans to construct a parking lot in the southern area of campus on the site of the recently demolished Richmond Apartments. The parking lot will be directly south of a proposed student-residential complex and to the west of Raven Village. In addition to the parking lot, construction will include sidewalks, the 22nd Street extension between Avenue J and Avenue I, and underground storm water detention facilities.

The following Planning and Construction Report comes from the meeting's minutes:

I. Project Planning & Programming

1. South Dining
Est. Completion: August 2016
The proposed 32,000 square foot food service/dining facility will be located adjacent to the existing South Paw dining as an enhancement to support the south food service capacity. The existing bakery and food service offices will be moved from the Belvin basement to the new facility. The expansion will be located over an existing parking lot. Extension of utilities will be necessary to support the facility. Kirksey was selected as Architect in March 2014 for design services and programming has commenced.
2. Health and Life Sciences Building (formerly Biology, Health Sciences and Shared Equipment Building) & Campus Infrastructure
This project is the consolidation of two projects on the FY2014-FY2019 CIP: the Biology, Nursing and Allied Health Building and the Shared Equipment Building.  Programming is underway in anticipation of a possible Tuition Revenue Bond request. The Biology, Nursing and Allied Health Building, was not funded. The building is proposed to include consolidated instructional, research, and administrative areas for Biology, a Health Science Dean’s suite, instructional, research, and administrative areas for Nursing, Forensic Science program a Shared Equipment area providing research capabilities, and common instructional and building support areas. Preliminary analysis suggests the building would provide approximately 200,000 gross square feet.
3. Gibbs Ranch Equine Arena

The project was previously under Gibbs Ranch Ag Arena as listed in the FY2014-2019 CIP. Due to the specialized need for program specific functionality the project was separated from the existing CIP project.  Programming kick-off started in February 2014. The new facility will support the academic growth in equestrian and animal sciences, as the Department of Agricultural and Industrial Sciences continues to set enrollment records. Equine Science is one of the more rapidly growing areas and currently serves as an option for a minor to students.  Likewise, population of horses and interest in equine production and training along the I-45 corridor between Dallas and Houston is the state’s largest student interest in equine science parallel s the population statistics and Sam Houston State University is situated at the hub of this interest. The current facilities do not meet the demands and objectives for academic outcomes and research agendas.

4. CMIT/LEMIT/PRC Facility & Infrastructure

Correction Management Institute of Texas (CMIT) and Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) are expanding their services to the law enforcement community throughout the state and nation. These activities are located in the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center (Beto CJC) where SHSU's Criminal Justice (CJ) academic program is housed. By relocating the non-academic programs off campus, SHSU's Criminal Justice College will be able to expand as anticipated. The Police Research Center (PRC) has been a long-term endeavor to develop a comprehensive police information management system, the Criminal Research, Information Management, and Evaluation System (CRIMES), which also be located in the new facility. Programming was approved in November 2013. The project will be located north of main campus on 78 acres which were transferred by Texas Department Criminal Justice to TSUS for the use of Sam Houston State University in the 83rd Legislative Session. This parcel is currently being master planned with this project being part of the first phase.
5. I-45 Recreational Complex

This project originally combined athletics and recreational sports into the existing Agriculture campus and Holleman field areas; however, budget estimates did not align with University projected budgets. Therefore, the programming restarted with only the recreational components included and the project is being reprogrammed in phases. Programming was approved in August 2013 and will be used to support the Capital Campaign. The project is on hold pending funding.

6.  Gibbs Ranch Plant Science Field Lab
The project is envisioned as a replacement facility for the existing Horticulture operations currently at the I-45 Ag Complex, and provides opportunity for growth of departmental capabilities to better serve students. It consolidates greenhouses, shared classroom/research lab space, and a series of gardens and exterior amenities totaling 8,500 gross square feet and 7,500 square feet respectively.  The architectural program was approved in April 2012 and the project is awaiting funding. 
7. Lowman Student Center Expansion

 Programming began on June 22, 2012 to expand and selectively renovate the Lowman Student Center to expand the services and activities that support student life. The expansion is planned to be located on the Smith-Kirkley Hall site. The October 2012 student referendum vote was successful for this project.  Programming is complete and was approved in January 2013. The project is awaiting funding.
 II. Design/Construction Document Phase

8. Fred Pirkle Technology Center (formerly known as Agriculture and Technology Building)
Est. Completion: August 2016.  The building will house future programs for the Engineering Technology program as well as consolidate existing programs currently being taught in multiple locations. Programming is complete. An architect and a construction manager-at-risk were recently selected. Schematic Design was expected to begin mid-April 2014. 
9. South Residential Complex
Est. Completion: August 2016.  The Project includes construction of two new 335-bed residence halls (670 beds total) of approximately 105,000 gross square foot each. Large open green spaceand pedestrian walkways will provide ample access in both directions. The project will include a modular chiller plant and associated infrastructure to support the residence halls and a future dining facility. The project is intended to create the south residential district of the Sam Houston campus.
10. South District Parking & Related Infrastructure
Est. Completion: December 2014.  This project includes construction of approximately 400 parking spaces, concretesurface sidewalks, the 22nd Street extension between Avenue J and Avenue I,and underground storm water detention facilities. It will be located on the site ofthe recently purchased Richmond Apartments and adjacent parking lots. Design began in February 2014.
11. The Woodlands Center Level 4 Nursing Build out
Est. Completion: December 2014. A project to build out level 4 at The Woodlands Center for the nursing program upper level classes kicked off in November 2013. The program is complete and design documents are being developed.
12. Sycamore Vivarium
Est. Completion December 2014.  Design kick-off started September 29, 2013 for the vivarium project which includes four animal holding rooms, housing primarily for rodents, and associated support areas including a Procedure Room located at the recently purchased property at 1614 Sycamore Avenue. The project will allow the University to relocate this operation into a suitable facility. The Guaranteed Maximum Price has been confirmed. Construction is expected to begin in June 2014.
III. Construction Phase

13. Student Health and Counseling Center
Est. Completion: August 2014.  The new 29,000 square foot center will house both the University’s physical health and mental health services. The project is located next to Old Main Market where former King Hall was situated. The Design Development package and project cost were approved at the August 2013 Board of Regents meeting.  Construction began on October 14, 2013 with a projected completion date which would allow for a Fall 2014 opening.

14.  Sam Houston Village HVAC/Structural/TAS Renovations (combined projects formerly referred to as Sam Houston Village HVAC Renovations & Sprinkler Repairs and Sam Houston Village Structural Repairs & TAS Renovations)
Est. Completion: August 24, 2012.  The Construction Manager-At-Risk, SpawGlass Construction, was selected in May 2011. A Notice to Proceed has been issued to the Contractor and a construction kickoff meeting was held on November 1, 2011. Construction progress is 99% complete. Interior Substantial Completion was achieved on July12, 2012, with Exterior Substantial Completion reached on August 2, 2012. The residence hall was opened on schedule for the 2012 fall semester. Project close-out is in process.
 15.  University Camp Phase 2 (formerly known as Bearkat Camp)
Est. Completion: December 6, 2013.  The Phase 2 Master Plan for the University Camp at SHSU’s Riverside property is complete. SpawGlass Construction was selected as Construction Manager-At-Risk in November 2011. A Notice to Proceed was issued mid-November 2011 for the design of overnight accommodations, assembly hall and the swimming pool. The Design Development Package was approved at the August 2012 Board of Regents meeting with the pool as an add-alternate pending availability of budgeted funds. The project cost increase was approved at the May 2013 Board of Regents meeting to accommodate the addition of the swimming pool.  The project was substantially complete on December 6, 2013.
 IV. Completed Projects

Friday, April 25, 2014

SHSU Celebrates Founders Day 2014

SHSU celebrate 135 years of history with this music video tribute to the individuals who have helped shape the growth and development of SHSU as part of the celebrations for Founders Day. Zaccheus Johnson, a mass communications major, wrote the Founders Day song and performed in the music video. He spent a lot of time researching and putting the first 100 years of SHSU history into a contemporary music genre.