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.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Video: Buildingshsu Project Promotion-thing (1998)

I’ve been going through a box of audio and video cassettes from the KSHU days in an attempt to digitize everything (the oldest of the audio cassettes turn 20 next year...) and I’ve found a few gems nestled in between projects for RTF 335 (Single Camera and Non-Linear Editing I) and packages for Cable Seven News.

About the name of that class: linear video editing is the process of selecting, arranging, and modifying images and sound in a predetermined, ordered sequence. Once a shot is on tape, nothing can be placed ahead of it without overwriting whatever is there already. If absolutely necessary, material can be dubbed by copying the edited content onto another tape but that causes a loss in generation which degrades the image and ultimately looks bad and could affect your grade. Even though the class name says otherwise, most of what we did in RTF 335 was produced in a linear fashion.

Non-linear editing arrived at KSHU around 1997 or so.  This editing style allows the user to access any frame and perform cut-and-paste type editing similar to how one would use a word processor. There are also a range of fades, transitions, and other effects that can be used though let us not forget Mr. Roe: wipes are cheese.  (Wait, that was RTF 163.  Never mind.)


Enough of the lecture. At some point late in the spring 1998 semester – after scanning Alcaldes from archives over at Peabody and having raided the Thomason Room – I took a diskette of photographs into the new non-linear editing suite and tried my hand at creating something. It was supposed to promote the original Beacon of Education: the Building of Sam Houston State University project but that program never got any further than...well, this promo. It was my first non-linear project and not a very good one: a lot of the photographs were taken from the SHSU website (hence the grainy resolution) and there’s no sound.

If anything it’s an interesting look into the archives.   Maybe.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Residential District Construction Underway

The November 20 edition of the Houstonian discusses the new $70 Million residential district recently begun on the south side of campus:
SHSU began construction last week on the newly acquired property south of campus. It’s planned to hold new parking lots and on-campus housing that will balance the campus residential population with the north side of campus.

The residence halls are planned to accommodate approximately 670 residents, Denise Neu, director of facilities planning and construction, said.

Texas State University System Board of Regents records say the resident halls will have space for 335 beds.

The new district will also include a 400-spot parking lot for on-campus and commuter students, a dining hall and new pedestrian and automobile infrastructure.

At the Board of Regents meeting on Nov. 8, the system approved the $70 million budget for the project. Neu said that the current demolition construction is costing $472,000.

TSUS documents show that getting water and power from the West Physical Plant to the facility will cost $6.35 million. Neu also said that the resident halls will cost $51.42 million and the parking lots will cost $3.46 million.

The parking lot is planned for completion in spring 2015 and the residence halls in fall 2016.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SHSU Official On ADA Compliance: “We’re Going To Correct It”

The Nov. 19 edition of the Houstonian notes that SHSU Student Government Association (SGA) officials met with SHSU facilities management to discuss their recent Americans with Disabilities Act and Safety Report findings:
Robert Ferguson met with Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Doug Greening Wednesday and questioned the university’s position on SGA’s report.

“We agreed that [the university] would look at all the stuff in the report and try to accomplish as much as we can,” Greening said. “We’re doing a lot already. What we’re going to do is...go through all these things and try and identify them...[i]f there’s something there we need to correct, we’re going to correct it.”

SHSU does not necessarily conform to ADA, but it conforms to the Texas Accessibility Standards. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, TAS meets and exceeds the expectations of ADA. Greening said that if the school is in compliance with TAS, it’s in compliance with ADA.

Ferguson said that this report was just the “tip of the iceberg." "I guarantee that we could fill an entire report on one building at a time,” Ferguson said. Ferguson also said that the university wouldn’t install railings in the mall area for the sake of aesthetics, a fact that Greening himself confirmed.

“If we were to put handrails on all of those walkways, it would probably look funny,” Greening said. “It would probably take away from the landscape. A lot of people don’t use those unless there are steps involved. If that’s the only alternative we’ve got, then maybe we’ll have to take a look at it.”

Greening said that the university is testing out a new spray adhesive on the pebble walkways in an effort to make getting a firm grip during wet weather more feasible.

Ferguson is a disabled veteran and has been pressing the university for two years in reference to ADA. He said the measures the university is taking are a “quick-fix” and regardless of a grip-increasing spray, still make most of the ramps on campus noncompliant with ADA.

“The ramps are designed for golf carts,” Ferguson said. “We have 1,300 veterans on this campus right now, and more and more are coming back with severe injuries. When it rains, you never see a single disabled student on campus. This pea gravel is very aesthetically pleasing, but functional? You’re sure as hell not going to stop yourself from slipping and sliding if you’re in a wheelchair.”

Although working closely and cooperating with the university, SGA isn’t relenting if SHSU does not follow through with fixing its alleged noncompliance.

“They’re finally figuring out that I’m not going away,” Ferguson said. “I am educated on it, and I know who I can talk to whom, if it comes down to it, can shut this school down.”

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mafrige Rock Now Part Of Bowers Tradition

GoBearkats.com tells of the new Mafrige Rock tradition:
Saturday [Nov. 9], in a pregame ceremony at the regular season home finale versus Nicholls State, a new addition to Bowers Stadium was introduced in the southwest corner of the stadium in memory of the longtime Bearkat benefactor. The Mafrige Rock, a 58-inch tall block of Texas granite on a pedestal three feet by three feet, now sits at the bottom of the ramp the Sam Houston football team descends each game at Bowers. As the players exit the ramp, they will touch the rock then head onto the playing field.

Ronald Mafrige, who passed away in August, 2011, was a generous supporter of Bearkat athletics. Nicknamed "The Rock" by his friends and fraternity brothers in college, the 1960 Sam Houston graduate contributed more than $2 million to the university.

Inspiration for the monument came from Mafrige’s lifelong friends and Delt fraternity brothers John Bright and Ron Koska.

"John and Ron wanted to find a way to recognize Ron Mafrige’s contributions to this campus," SHSU athletic director Bobby Williams said. "Our department is honored that the Mafrige family, John and Ron have allowed us to implement this new tradition to celebrate a great person. The addition of the monument was announced at our ‘Night of Champions’ celebration last April."

Mafrige led and participated in numerous Sam Houston organizations and initiatives. The Houston real estate entrepreneur served as National Campaign Chair for Sam Houston’s first capital campaign.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 2013 Regents Report

Today@Sam has their report on the quarterly meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents:
...[T]he regents authorized SHSU to name a proposed facility in honor of the late Fred Pirkle, an SHSU alumnus who made provisions for his estate to provide $25 million to sustain and enhance the study of industrial engineering technology at the university.

The first $10 million of Pirkle’s bequest is designated for the construction of a technology center to include classrooms, faculty and staff offices, conference rooms, auditoriums, laboratories as needed for the existing industrial technology program and future programs that support engineering technology education. The facility will be named the Pirkle Technology Center, and the name will be changed to the Pirkle Engineering Technology Center whenever the university is approved to offer an engineering technology program.

The regents also authorized the renaming of the SHSU Police Department Building in honor of Charles W. Tackett. Tackett worked 55 years in Texas law enforcement and retired from SHSU in after serving 32 years as the university’s director of public safety and chief of police.

He was instrumental in requesting that some form of legislation be mandated which would clarify the jurisdiction of university police officers throughout the state of Texas. As a result, House Bill 391 was signed into law in 1987, specifying that campus law enforcement jurisdiction included all counties in which property is owned, leased, rented or otherwise under the control of a university or public technical institute that employs peace officers. Also, the legislation granted to campus law enforcement officers the authority to enforce traffic laws on streets and highways, as well as jurisdiction outside of their primary area.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Remembering: White Hall

While surveying the land for information on the former White Hall cafeteria we discovered the Great Indoorsman sharing some disturbing memories of his time living on campus during the mid-1980s. He remembers the former cafeteria all too well:
In Kirkley Hall, my old dorm at Sam Houston State, during finals week in Fall 1985, Brent, a friend with paramilitary tendencies, trapped a rat in his closet. There was a great hullabaloo as several of us ran down the hall to see what was up. Doug, my friend and RA, insisted that there couldn't be a rat in the dorm. The rat jumped from there onto the desk, grabbed onto a cord for the Venetian blinds, swung over to the top of the refrigerator, jumped to the floor, ran through Doug’s legs, and scampered across the room, where Brent attacked the rat with a broomstick. But I took out a semester’s worth of rage and frustration on the poor creature, not only killing him, but breaking off bits of his skull and teeth into the tightly-woven carpet, and splitting my Louisville Slugger in the process.

Doug was eventually promoted to Hall Director, and in August 1989, after I’d spent part of the summer camped out in his spare room, I figured the least I could do for him, to repay him for his kindness before I left Huntsville for good, was help him move from Belvin-Buchanan Dorm into his spacious three-bedroom Hall Director’s apartment at White Hall. I stuck around a few days to help him unpack, and one night saw a huge rat running across his kitchen bar. I’m not ashamed to say I screamed like a woman. But Doug didn't turn around fast enough, and didn't believe I’d actually seen a rat, or at least, he found no evidence of a rat being in his kitchen.

A month passed. I moved to Conroe, then Austin. And I heard from Doug.

It seems a few nights after I’d left another rat made an appearance. Doug called the Maintenance Department and they sent a few guys over to investigate. They found some tell-tale holes.

Then somebody got a hunch.

Doug’s apartment was one floor above the old White Hall cafeteria, which had been closed for several years.

Doug and the maintenance men went downstairs, unlocked a door to the cafeteria, and found the floor “alive—swarming, swimming with thousands of rats. It was like waves of grey and black all over that floor,” as Doug put it. It seems when the University closed the cafeteria nobody bothered to get rid of the excess food that was in storage. Doug told me it was a massive operation for the exterminators to kill all those rats, and the whole place stank for weeks.

I forget what the final tally of rats was. I think somebody calculated how many years the cafeteria had been closed with how many litters rats can produce in that many years, and came up with an astounding figure.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SHSU Under SGA Scrutiny During ADA Compliance Investigation

The [Nov. 5] edition of the Houstonian says the SHSU Student Government Association (SGA) is investigating the university’s alleged noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on campus:
One Senator’s preliminary report indicated that out of the 13 buildings he investigated, White Hall, Thomason building, Dan Rather Communication Building, the Health and Kinesiology Center and Smith-Hutson building all allegedly had violations.

“In my investigation of buildings and other infrastructure around the SHSU campus, I searched for any problems in outdoor access that could...make it difficult for individuals who are unable to go over steps or stairs,” Sen. Matthew Maddox (COS) said. “All the buildings investigated were handicap accessible, in one way or another, with ramps and automated doors for outdoor access [where] handicap access was available.”

Maddox indicated that sidewalks on Bearkat Boulevard were an issue. According to Maddox’s report, the sidewalks between Estill Hall and the parking lot at the Student Health Center were difficult to navigate and were missing sections. He also said that he found a ramp under construction near Old Main Market and Estill Hall.

Issues were also found on the south side of campus. Maddox reported a missing section of sidewalk near the entrance to White Hall, forcing handicapped individuals into the parking lot to access the building from the sidewalk.

On Bobby K. Marks Drive near Raven Village was another missing section of sidewalk.

“The sheer slope after the discontinued sidewalk is dangerous for normal pedestrians and impossible for (handicapped people) without going around through Avenue I,” Maddox said.

Maddox said that Thomason’s hallways were difficult to navigate during its busy hours between classes. Some of the restroom doors on the second floor of Thomason were difficult to open, and some restrooms failed to indicate they were handicap accessible.

According to Maddox, the restrooms in the Health and Kinesiology Center were difficult to open but in compliance. However, there were no handicap restroom facilities on the second floor. DRCB and Smith-Hutson both had compliant restrooms, but the restroom doors in the DRCB were hard to open. There was also no handicap restroom facility on the north side of Smith- Hutson’s third floor.

On the SHSU website is a map of ADA routes on campus. The map indicates “in certain areas these routes may not be entirely consistent with ADA grade due to the unique topography of the SHSU campus.”

University Affairs Chief Spencer Copeland said that this is possibly an exception to the rule. “Since the typography of campus is so hilly, some things just aren’t feasible without demolishing campus, flatten, then rebuilding,” Copeland said. “So I can see where the regulations… may not be possible due to a hill. What we are looking at are areas where it can be done.”

SGA opened an investigation in October 2013 with at least 14 students seeking evidence and writing reports.