Preliminary plans for the $4.7 million renovation of the Administration Building on the Sam Houston State University campus were approved Friday, but not without considerable discussion concerning the merit of spending that much money to fix up an old building.
Work on the project, the last major academic building renovation on the SHSU campus, could begin in early fall if Ferro-Saylors, Inc. architects of Houston find no serious structural problems and the SHSU regents continue to support the project.
The Texas State University System board of regents approved the plans and asked the architects to proceed with detailed plans and specifications for bidding in anticipation of a construction contract being awarded at the August 1998 board meeting.
A representative from Ferro-Saylors told the board that project costs have been increased by the necessity of removing asbestos from the building, the fact that no structural documents exist from when the building was completed in 1916, and the deterioration of the building's terra cotta trim.
When the project is completed it will house offices of the university president, vice president for finance and operations, vice president for academic affairs, the registrar's office, and others.
Bobby K. Marks, Sam Houston president, read excerpts prepared by university master planner Ralph Spencer in which Spencer said that the building is the best example of neo-classical architecture on the SHSU campus, that its style unifies the older "west campus" with the newer buildings to the east, and that the building "should be preserved."
"In an institution as old Sam Houston State University," Marks said, "there is a great feeling of pride in the buildings on campus, especially since the loss of Old Main. Not restoring the Administration Building would be a big disappointment not only to our campus but to the Huntsville community."