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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

University offers to purchase Baptist Student Ministry

The Houstonian reports of the university’s interest in owning the land where the Baptist Student Ministry is located:
A press release sent by the BSM in early January stated that Vice President of Finance and Operations Alvin Hooten notified them that they planned to build on their current property. The BSM was given two choices; they could either sell their building or the university would seek to take it through eminent domain.

On Jan. 9, the administration told BSM that the university had no desire to use eminent domain.

The school would like to use the land to expand on the Lowman Student Center, and plan on using the land that the Smith Kirkley building is currently on, next to the BSM building

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Austin Hall Undergoes Restoration

Today@Sam reports that SHSU’s oldest academic building is being restored – brick by brick:
Austin Hall, the oldest building on the campus of Sam Houston State University, is in the middle of a restoration that includes extensive repairs and a bit of “dressing up,” according to university officials.

The three foundations that have committed to assisting in the funding for the Austin Hall restoration project include Houston Endowment, Inc., The Brown Foundation, Inc., and The Elkins Foundation. Shutter damage and cracks between bricks will be among the things the $2 million restoration project will work to ameliorate. The project is being paid for through donations by three foundations. Estimated to cost $2 million, the project has benefitted from donations from alumni and businesses as well.

SHSU’s Facilities Planning and Construction Office is leading the project which includes everything from floor refinishing to cupola restoration, as well as the installation of new electrical and plumbing systems.

The bricks with names of generations of Sam Houston State students carved into them will not be replaced with new bricks. They will, however, be taken down so that new mortar can be applied. They will then be “re-placed” in their previous location on the exterior of the building, except for those bricks that have deteriorated beyond use, such as some of the ones below the windows.

The restoration project is scheduled to be completed in May 2012.
No word on what they win if they find the cornerstone.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kolkhorst Atrium Named in Honor of Representative

Today@Sam reports that the atrium in the Sam Houston State University—The Woodlands Center building was named in honor of State Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst. The announcement came during a luncheon honoring Kolkhorst on Wednesday, January 18.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Building a Mystery: Home Management Home

One thing about going further back in time through the yearbooks is that the locations of certain buildings are somewhat ambiguous. Take for example the Home Management House, as shown in the 1941 Alcalde. This is most likely one of the many homes that surrounded the campus in the early-to-mid 20th Century – maybe once a boarding house for SHNI students that was later used as a demonstration home for research and educational purposes. As the campus grew whole neighborhoods of homes like this were leveled to make way for academic buildings, dormitories, pedestrian malls, green spaces, and even sometimes parking lots.

Where was this house located? Ken Hestand (’57) dropped us a line with some ideas:
My wife remembers that the Home Management House was near what was called the Annex, but doesn’t remember exactly where. On the east side of the Avenue J and facing the President's House was a two story house that was called the Annex. My wife roomed there. I believe it was also used as a demonstration house for home economics majors who had to live there for a semester, to plan and cook meals. One requirement was to have sweetbreads at least once a week. They also kept house, etc. as a normal housewife would do. From your map, the Annex was where the Post Office/Telephone Service Building was.
Yum - sweetbreads!  So perhaps this house once sat south of where the LSC now stands?  Any other thoughts?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

End To Lab’s Federal Funds Means Higher County Costs

The Conroe Courier reports that federal funds have dried up for the SHSU Regional Crime Lab that conducts drug and alcohol tests for Montgomery County law enforcement:
The Sam Houston State University Regional Crime Lab, which is operated by the university’s College of Criminal Justice and located in The Woodlands, started taking evidence from five counties, including Montgomery, in November 2010. A $1.5 million federal grant got the lab up and running.

But those agencies using the lab had agreed to three years of federal funding, after which the lab would complete its transition to becoming self-sustaining through fees, said Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam, chief of the Vehicular Crimes Division for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

Diepraam said District Attorney Brett Ligon and SHSU officials have asked U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, to help find additional federal funds to supplement the fees paid by agencies.

The Regional Crime Lab will continue to run the drug toxicology and blood-alcohol tests, but all controlled substance evidence tests now will be sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety lab in Austin. The average length of time for the Regional Crime Lab to turn around controlled substance tests is about two weeks, while the DPS lab can take up to nine months because of the volume of cases it gets from across the state, Diepraam said.