The Buildings of Sam Houston State University documents the changes of the SHSU campus in Huntsville, Texas from its inception in 1879 through tomorrow. The Brick and Mortarboard presents news and commentary about the buildings, the people, and the history of SHSU. Stay informed and impress your friends.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Houstonian: The Hottest Haunted Spots on Campus

Another in a series of ghost stories from Sam Houston State University, courtesy today’s Houstonian:
Austin College, now known as Austin Hall, has been here since 1879, making it the oldest building on campus. Many have claimed that a maid watches out the right hand far window on the third floor. Others say that it is a small boy. Some even say that Sam Houston walks the halls of the historic building. It has been said that a black Raven pecks at the same window that the ghost sightings have occurred.
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This is not the only haunted building on campus. The University Archivist, Barbara Kievit-Mason, says that she has seen a ghost in the Peabody building a number of times. She used to work in the old library alone. Occasionally she would work with a student assistant, but most of her time was spent alone-- or so she thought. After the first appearance of the ghost, the visits became pretty regular. During the quiet work hours, the harmless spirit would simply appear. The spirit is that of a lady who appears to be from the early 20th century. She wears a long, black, high-line neck dress. Her face remains unclear. Kievit-Mason said that she assumes that the lady is one of the first librarians or professors.
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Throughout the years, rumors have also evolved. A few stories that are often seen as fact have been proven to be false. It has been said that the when the old music building burned down that students and children were killed. Supposedly these people continue to linger around the new building, which is now the Evans Complex. Sometimes people say they can hear a random applause or laughing. This story is false. While some may hear unexplainable noises, no one was killed during the music building blaze.

Another false tradition is that someone haunts the Old Main Pit. There are no actual reported deaths in the Old Main building or the fire that engrossed the building.

Kievit-Mason says that there are plenty of stories that have been around for years and will continue to develop. "As far as I know, Tripod does not haunt this campus. Although, he should haunt the person that knocked over his head stone," she said.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Item: Vandals trash new baseball complex

From the Item:
Late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, the rivalry between the Bearkats of Sam Houston State and the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin heated up, when just hours before the Battle of the Piney Woods football game, the new baseball and softball fields of all places were vandalized with purple, white and red spraypaint.

The vandals gained access to the new fields armed with spraypaint in the Lumberjack colors and wrote “SFA” in the turf behind home plate at the baseball field and along the first-base line at the softball field.

As far as the recovery goes, Jason Barfield, athletic operations coordinator, said the officers at SHSU may be able to remove the spray paint, but first, they will need to make sure the incident did not kill any of the grass.

Although the fields were locked overnight, Barfield said there may have been other ways for the vandals to gain entrance to the fields.

Houstonian: What would you name this dorm?

From the Houstonian:
[Students] can show off [their] creative juices and win a $100 gift certificate to the Barnes and Noble University bookstore if the name [they] enter for the Phase III housing project is chosen by the student body.

...students will have until Oct. 21 to submit their names on the SHSU Web site. "A panel will select five names and those five will be given to the students to vote on," she said. According to an e-mail from Dana Grant, Assistant Director of Business and Operations, the [selection] panel will consist of faculty, staff and students. The students will have the chance to vote on the five panel decisions on Oct. 27-28, and the winning name will be submitted to President Gaertner for approval.

The Phase III housing project will hold approximately 409 students, according to John McCroskey, Assistant Director for Facilities and Construction. The building will be a four story building with elevators. McCroskey said the new construction will also add approximately 350 parking spaces.

"Our objective is to have it completed by Fall of 2006," he said. He said they have done some innovative structural techniques to insure the schedule continues as planned. "Basically we have done a lot of pre-fabrication construction on the basic foundation," said McCroskey.

It seems that construction has been all over campus lately, so why another housing project? "For one thing, the student population is growing 1,000 students a year, [and] another reason is I think the new dorms are helping to attract students to the campus," said McCroskey.

This new dorm is replacing the Gintz family apartments and two other small houses. According to McCroskey, the two smaller dorms only housed 36 students each. "That was a lot of real estate for just 72 students, so the idea was to build up and compact the site with more people," he said.

Why the Clock Has IIII and Not IV

Today@Sam tries to clear up why the clock on the new bell tower has a Roman inscription IIII - instead of IV. According to the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, manufacturer of the SHSU clock, the use of IIII was universally accepted when Roman numerals were used on dials. Furthermore, a study of Roman inscriptions surviving from the days when Rome controlled the British Isles shows that the Romans themselves preferred IIII to IV. IIII appears 87 percent of the time.

Also, SHSU has enjoyed the sound of tolling bells for a quarter century. In 1980 Robert Wright, a West Columbia High School and later University of Texas graduate who attended Army Specialized Training at Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1942, provided a donation to establish the Farrell-Wright Carillon, in honor of his parents. It was dedicated on April 13, 1980. The electronic bell system included eight speakers installed atop the Marks Administration Building and a keyboard console that could be played manually. It served the campus for almost 25 years and was moved to a nearby building when the Administration Building was renovated. In recent years it began having mechanical problems that became unrepairable.

Ruth and Ron Blatchley of College Station donated a clock with chimes that was installed in the Alumni Garden just west of the Lowman Student Center in 2003. They later provided a sizeable donation for construction of the Ruth and Ron Blatchley Bell Tower, that was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2005. The Blatchleys were students at Sam Houston State in the late 1960s.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Grave of Tripod vandalized

The Houstonian reports that the grave of Tripod has been vandalized. "On Monday, October 17, a student found the headstone on Tripod's grave knocked off its base and lying on the ground. UPD and the president's office were contacted for comment, but neither had heard any reports of the vandalism."