Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SHSU Counseling Center Understaffed, Overcrowded

The Tuesday March 25 edition of the Houstonian discusses the overcrowded Counseling Center and the excitement the new Health and Counseling Center brings:
The Sam Houston State University Counseling Center currently has a two-week long waiting list to see students as the result of the understaffed, overcrowded office. While SHSU’s counseling center should have 12 therapists based on this ratio, it only has seven, making the actual ratio roughly one therapist for every 2,714 students.

According to Miller, the new Counseling Center building should be completed in late July or early August. The new building will have 20 offices, and Miller said the counselors hope to relocate before the fall semester.

“We’re very excited about being able to expand our services when we move into the new facility,” Miller said. “It’s been something that has been a goal of mine for years since I’ve been in this role, and we’re so excited to finally be able to bring extended resources to the students because there’s a clear need. If we didn’t have a wait list, we wouldn’t be trying to grow because there wouldn’t be the need, so we’re just thrilled to be able to finally provide that.”

Miller said the center is already taking measures to increase their faculty size and meet the growing demand.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Life Circummured With Brick(s)

It’s Spring Break at SHSU and that normally means I’m wandering the main campus taking photographs. Not today – but I was reviewing the photographs that I’ve taken over the last eight years and found something mildly interesting.

First some history. Approval was granted in August 2011 for a $2.2 Million restoration of Austin Hall. The project included work on both its interior and exterior and went as far as temporarily removing the bricks and applying new mortar. From what I recall the idea was to number them and reposition them back in their original location, save for those that had deteriorated beyond use. When the project was complete Austin Hall was rededicated in October 2012.

So here are two photographs of the same brick that features a rather prominent "B" that we once used to represent the "B" in the now-former buildingshsu logo (play the Writing on the Wall game to learn more on that). The first photograph is from our July 2007 visit, the second came just last year in March 2013. You notice the main brick and its surrounding brethren are mostly the same except now above it to the right is a brick featuring the initials "M B".  So did "M B" find a blank canvas to leave their mark sometime between 2007 and 2013 what with all the shrubs trimmed out of the way?

For what it’s worth, the brick to the bottom right is still marked with “’84”, meaning that engraver most likely graduated from SHSU a mere thirty years ago.

Not a lot of time when you consider the original bricks were placed there when the building was constructed over 160 years ago.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February 2014 Regents Report

Today@Sam has their report on the quarterly meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents.  The following Planning and Construction Report comes from the meeting's minutes:

I. Project Planning & Programming

1. Fred Pirkle Technology Center (formerly known as Agriculture and Technology Building)
The building will house future programs for the Engineering Technology program as well as consolidate existing programs currently being taught in multiple locations. Programming is complete. Procurement of an architect and a Construction Manager-at-Risk is underway.

2. Biology, Health Sciences and Shared Equipment Building (formerly Biology,
Nursing and Allied Health Building)
Programming has been requested to prepare for the 2014 and 2015 Legislative Appropriation Request for the 84th Legislature. The Project will be the subject of a tuition revenue bond request as the former project, Biology, Nursing and Allied Health Building, was not funded. The building is proposed to include consolidated instructional, research, and administrative areas for Biology, a Health Science Dean’s suite, instructional, research, and administrative areas for Nursing, a Shared Equipment area providing research capabilities, and common instructional and building support areas. Preliminary analysis suggests the building would provide approximately 150,000 gross square feet.
3. I-45 Recreational Complex (formerly I-45 Sports Complex from combined projects formerly known as I-45 Recreational Complex and Tennis/Track/Soccer Complex)
This project originally combined athletics and recreational sports into the existing Agriculture campus and Holleman field areas; however, budget estimates did not align with University projected budgets. Therefore, the programming restarted with only the recreational components included and the project is being reprogrammed in phases. Programming was approved in August 2013 and will be used to support the Capital Campaign.
4. Plant Science Field Lab at Gibbs Ranch (formerly under relocation of Agriculture
Complex to Gibbs Ranch)
The project is envisioned as a replacement facility for the existing Horticulture operations currently at the I-45 Ag Complex, and provides opportunity for growth of departmental capabilities to better serve students. It consolidates greenhouses, shared classroom/research lab space, and a series of gardens and exterior amenities totaling 8,500 gross square feet and 7,500 square feet respectively. The architectural program was approved in April 2012 and the project is awaiting funding.

5. Lowman Student Center Expansion
Programming began on June 22, 2012 to expand and selectively renovate the Lowman Student Center to expand the services and activities that support student life. The expansion is planned to be located on the Smith-Kirkley Hall site. The October 2012 student referendum vote was successful for this project.  Programming is complete and was approved in January 2013.

6. South Residential District
Programming began on February 22, 2013 for two 335-bed residence halls, a large dining facility and tiered surface parking providing 400 spaces. During the programming process, it became apparent the “district” needed to be broken down into three separate projects: residence halls, parking lot and dining facility.  The project is planned to be located on the recently purchased Richmond Apartments and adjacent parking lots. It is envisioned as another gateway into the campus and will properly balance the housing and dining population on the north and south sides of campus. Programming is complete and all three projects are the subjects of solicitation for design teams.
7. Woodlands Level 4 Nursing
A project to build-out level 4 at The Woodlands Center for the nursing program upper level classes kicked off in November 2013.Program and schematic design are currently being reviewed.
8. 78 Acres Master Plan
Master planning of the recently deeded 78 acres from Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has commenced. Conceptual framework plan includes site planning, building locations and the following priorities (currently identified): hotel/conference center, CMIT/LEMIT facility, TDCJ facility, pedestrian/vehicular circulation, parking and infrastructure, gateways/corridors and campus connectivity. Also, the project will involve collaboration with H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum, TDCJ, City of Huntsville, TxDot, adjacent neighborhood associations and other relevant external stakeholders.
II. Design/Construction Document Phase

9. Relocation of Agriculture Complex to Gibbs Ranch – Phase I
Architect and Contractor contracts were terminated in November 2013 due to the lack of available funding for the project. This project will be deleted from the May construction summary.
 10. Student Health and Counseling Center
The new 29,000 square foot center will house both the physical health and mental health services. The Design Development package and project cost were approved at the August 2013 Board of Regents meeting. Notice to Proceed was issued on October 14, 2013 with a completion date which would allow for a Fall 2014 opening.
 11. Sycamore Vivarium
Design kick-off started September 29, 2013 for the vivarium project which includes four animal holding rooms, housing primarily for rodents, and associated support areas including a Procedure Room located at the recently purchased property at 1614 Sycamore Avenue. The project will allow the University to relocate this operation into a suitable facility. Design Development documents are undergoing value engineering as the current construction estimate is over budget.
 III. Construction Phase

12) Sam Houston Village HVAC/Structural/TAS Renovations (combined projects formerly referred to as Sam Houston Village HVAC Renovations & Sprinkler Repairs and Sam Houston Village Structural Repairs & TAS Renovations)
The Construction Manager-At-Risk, SpawGlass Construction, was selected in May 2011. A Notice to Proceed has been issued to the Contractor and a construction kickoff meeting was held on November 1, 2011. Construction progress is 99% complete. Interior Substantial Completion was achieved on July 12, 2012, with Exterior Substantial Completion reached on August 2, 2012. The residence hall was opened on schedule for the 2012 fall semester. Project closeout is in process.
 13. University Camp Phase 2 (formerly known as Bearkat Camp)
Completion: December 6, 2013.  The Phase 2 Master Plan for the University Camp at SHSU’s Riverside property is complete. SpawGlass Construction was selected as Construction Manager-At-Risk in November 2011. A Notice to Proceed was issued mid-November 2011 for the design of overnight accommodations, assembly hall and the swimming pool. The Design Development Package was approved at the August 2012 Board of Regents meeting with the pool as an add-alternate pending availability of budgeted funds. The project cost increase was approved at the May 2013 Board of Regents meeting to accommodate the addition of the swimming pool.  The project was substantially complete on December 6, 2013.
 IV. Completed Projects