Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 2015 Regents Report

Today@Sam has their report on the quarterly meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents:
  • Approval of the design development documents prepared by The Lawrence Group of Austin for the Fred Pirkle Engineering Technology Center project and the projected total cost of $22 million with funding by a $10 million gift and $12 million in Texas State University System Bonds
  • The board requested an additional rendering for the South Dining project.
  • Approval of the purchase real estate on 16th Street in Huntsville, which is adjacent to current property owned by SHSU and within the boundaries of the current master plan. The property will be used for future campus projects and expansion.
  • Approval of an Interlocal Agreement between the City of Huntsville and SHSU for the design and installation of various pedestrian safety and traffic calming improvements along Bobby K. Marks Drive.
  • Authorization for SHSU to name the Student Health and Counseling Center the William R. Powell Student Health and Counseling Center.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Secret Destination sets SHSU forensics apart from most programs

This semester's series in the Houstonian about secret destinations continues (Feb. 18) with some words about the body farm:

Big Changes With Board of Regents Approval

The Houstonian (Feb. 18) has a run-down on what's on tap at this quarter's meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

SHSU Asks TX Lege. For $60 million

The Houstonian reports (Jan. 29) that a state bill to give the university funding for a new biology building was deferred to the Committee on Higher Education:

Building Reflects Woman Behind Sam Houston

This isn't part of the Houstonian's series of secret destinations but the Margaret Houston Building gets highlighted in an article this week (Jan. 29). We weren't too crazy on the name Academic Building Two, either.
Just off of Sam Houston Avenue, down the hill from Austin Hall stands a faded, red brick, three-story structure known as the Margaret Lea Houston Building.

Following some complaints about the generic title originally given to Sam Houston State University’s former student union, “Academic Building II” was renamed “Margaret Lea Houston” in 2007 after Sam Houston’s wife, known for being the most influential person in his life.

“Academic Building II was kind of a sad name,” Janis White, Ph.D. chair of the department of family and consumer sciences said. “It didn’t have a lot of character or personality to it. We had not exactly requested that our building have the name changed, but we had made it known that we weren’t crazy about the name.”

Seeing that eventually the houses on the hill may one day be removed according to the university’s master plan, officials decided that there should still be a building on campus commemorating the influential woman.

“They were thinking about long-range planning and since one of the buildings on the hill is named after Margaret Lea Houston, they didn’t want to lose that name on the campus,” White said. “So they named our building Margaret Lea Houston and we have been very happy with the name.”

Although the houses on Sorority Hill are currently still in existence, upon the anticipated realization of the master plan, the newly named Margaret Lea Houston will be the sole barer of that name on campus.

The student lounge in the Margaret Lea Houston Building is cleverly named the “Haven.” In this area, students can hangout, relax or study. “The name ‘Haven’ is based on a letter that Sam sent to Margaret,” White said. “He said that when he came home to Huntsville, it was coming home to a haven. It was his family and his place where he felt comfortable.”

The building is currently awaiting the addition of a Margaret Lea Houston Portrait accompanied with a plaque explaining who she was. Whenever this arrives, there will be a ceremony for its unveiling, and the new decoration will be displayed in the second floor entry way.

“The portrait is lovely and will look very nice,” White said. “I think Margaret would be proud of this building and the activities that go on, and the female administrators that work within its walls.”

Secret SHSU Destination Makes Space Not So Far Away

Another in a series of the university's secret destinations from the Houstonian (Jan. 29), this time focusing on the observatory and planetarium (which has provided plenty of fun and Farrington for decades):
Many students do not know about these facilities unless they are Physics majors or are participating in the introduction to astronomy or stars and galaxies classes. Physics staff lab assistant Mike Prokosch educates students on all the planetarium and the observatory have to offer.

“Most students don’t realize that what we do at the observatory and the planetarium are actually very separate,” Prokosch said. “At the observatory, we analyze the sun, planets and the moon, and at the planetarium, the stars, galaxies and super-novas. The planetarium gives us the advantage to see the things that we cannot see at the observatory because those things are out of our solar system and not able to be seen through a telescope. Another advantage of the planetarium is that we can fast forward or rewind the skies rotations and we don’t have to worry about it being cloudy, rainy, daytime or nighttime like we do out at the observatory."

Another detail that is often forgotten about the planetarium and observatory is their age and establishment. The planetarium is located in the Farrington building, which was built in 1959. Prokosch believes the building was built with the intention of the planetarium because of how the roof extends into the second floor of the building. The planetarium was recently updated in November 2014 and is said to now have a top-of-the-line projector.

As for the observatory, Prokosch said the dome that now sits on the grounds used to sit on the top of the Farrington building until it was moved to the observatory grounds in the late 1990’s. The dome is now used to house a large telescope.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sidewalk, Bathroom Improvements Making Campus More ADA Friendly

A few notes from the Houstonian (Jan. 27) on some of the recent changes on campus to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act:
Over winter break, Sam Houston State University worked to make the campus more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two years ago, Student Body President Spencer Copeland conducted a safety walk with others around campus and found many buildings and areas that did not meet ADA requirements.

Completed ADA compliance projects include widening of a sidewalk on the Gaertner Performing Arts Center’s west side and upgrades to bathrooms in the Dan Rather Communications Building. The restrooms now have automated doors and bigger stalls.

Aside from the main projects on campus, other renovations have occurred. According to Facilities Management Manager Douglas Greening, work was done to different sidewalks and street corners throughout the break.

“During November to January… [We] installed a curb ramp at the southeast corner of Avenue I and 16th…and installed curb cuts at [the] music building loading dock entrance,” Greening said.

Greening said more projects are lined up to take place. The Health and Kinesiology Center is set to be the next building to be renovated with ADA improvements to its restrooms.