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Friday, August 26, 2005

Regents Approve Construction, Tuition Increase

Sam Houston State University regents Friday awarded a contract for a new 410-bed apartment style residential complex to be built at the southeast edge of the campus and approved a $10 per semester credit hour tuition increase effective in the 2006 spring semester.

The Board of Regents, Texas State University System, selected SpawGlass Construction Corp. of Houston for the $17.5 million project, which is expected to be started in September and completed in time for the 2006 fall Semester. James F. Gaertner, SHSU president, said the new housing will be built on a six-acre site formerly occupied by the Gintz family housing complex and Aydelotte and McCray Houses, all of which were built in 1961. The new complex will contain features of the Bearkat Village and Sam Houston Village apartments, which were built in the last three years and are popular with current SHSU students. Satisfaction with the new housing facilities is considered to be at least partially responsible for SHSU's projected fall record enrollment of more than 15,000.

In other business, the board approved a tuition increase of $10 per semester credit hour, purchase of new scoreboards for Bowers Stadium and Johnson Coliseum, a new weight room, an elevator for the stadium press box, an accessibility upgrade of the Gresham Library, and the 2006 holiday schedule. The Departments of Athletics and Recreational Sports are in the process of reviewing proposals for scoreboards, video boards, timing and message display systems at Bowers Stadium and in Johnson Coliseum, at a cost of up to $500,000. If funds are available for both, the installations would be made by Oct. 1 for the stadium and January 5, 2006 for the coliseum. The press box elevator will cost an estimated $800,000, with work to be done after this year's football season.

The weight room contract, with an estimated project cost of $1.2 million, and the library accessibility upgrade contract, with an estimated cost of $400,000, were both awarded to J & M Contracting Company of Huntsville. The weight facility will be a part of the new baseball/softball complex.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Houstonian: SHSU construction to aid growing university

From the Houstonian:
The 52,000 square foot addition to the Smith-Hutson business building is finished. It was completed at the end of May and will be in use this semester. It has 15 classrooms, 41 new offices and an auditorium seating 158.
"It's a really nice building," said John McCroskey, assistant director for facilities and construction.

Also, a project designed to expand the east plant chiller capacity has been finished. "The whole east side of the campus has grown so much that we had to add about 1,400 tons of chiller capacity for the air conditioners on the east side," McCroskey said. The project, which has cost the university about $2.5 million, was started in June of 2004.

The Estill dorm and Health Center renovations were completed as well.

Construction began last fall on Estill with improving the air conditioning and sprucing the building up with some minor "cosmetic" work. The dorm is open for residence again this fall.

The half million dollar Health Center renovation was completed in May after replacing all the air conditioning units and also doing "cosmetic" work.

The new chemistry and forensic science building is nearing completion. McCroskey said he expects that classes will be held in the building this fall, but that there will still be some construction going on. The 62,000 square foot building is part of a two-phase project for the science departments, with the other project being the renovation of the Farrington building. We've been renovating the second and third floors this summer and we'll take over the first floor and complete the renovation this fall," he said. The cost of both projects will total about $18 million.

The baseball/softball complex and the new addition to the Health and Kinesiology Center projects are also both scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.
"The baseball/softball complex is essentially complete except for some 'punch-list' items," McCroskey said.

The Recreational Sports building addition, which includes a swimming pool, a 10,000 square foot weight room and a 34-foot high climbing wall, has been a $6.7 million project. Originally supposed to be finished in time for the start of the semester, its completion date has been set back to about November, McCroskey said.

Students walking around beyond White Hall may notice the absence of the Ginz family housing and the McCray and Aydelotte small houses. All of those former residences have been demolished in preparation for new apartment-style housing.
"Both houses were pretty much ready for demolition anyway," McCroskey said. "They were falling apart."

The new residences, if the contract is approved by the Board of Regents, will house about 409 students and add about 150 new parking spaces. The $15 million project is expected to be completed by next August.

Finally, the last two major construction sites on campus are the sites of the alumni bell tower and the new visitors center. The 65-foot bell tower, which will stand outside the administration building, has been in the works for some time. The original concept of the alumni memorial was developed about two years ago.
"It took us awhile to get all of the financing," McCroskey said.
He said they will be striving to get the bell tower ready in time for Homecoming on October 8, but that it will be really pushing their abilities to get it done that quickly.

The $3.2 million visitors center project was started in March and will feature a large auditorium for prospective students and their families to gather in.
"The plan is to have the building ready in December. The contractor's making really good progress," McCroskey said.