Today@Sam: Regents Approve Building Projects

Expenditures for building renovations and additions and campus signage and parking, with costs of more than $20 million, as well as fee increases, a new doctorate, and summer study programs were all approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing body. The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the measures at a regular quarterly meeting at Southwest Texas State University, one of the eight system component institutions.

The largest expenditure item approved by the regents was $18 million for renovation and an addition to the Farrington Building, which houses the chemistry and physics departments. James F. Gaertner, SHSU president, told the board that laboratory space in the 43-year-old building is inadequate for the program of instruction that is conducted there and research space is outdated and deficient.

The building now has 51,000 square feet of space. An addition of 40,000 square feet will contain new laboratory facilities, offices, classrooms, and supporting functions that will increase laboratory space by about a third. The board approved hiring the Watkins Hamilton Ross Architects, Inc. firm of Houston to design the renovation and addition.

A $368,747 contract was awarded to Riata Construction of Conroe for the second phase of a project to complete 750 additional parking spaces by the beginning of the fall semester. The lots are near White Hall and the Colony Apartments. Construction has already begun on two lots at Ave. J and Bobby K. Marks Drive.

Molina Walker Architects, Inc. of Houston was hired to design a renovation of the Newton Gresham Library which is expected to cost $800,000. The work will be done this summer after movement of the library science department and Learning Assistance Center to the new classroom/office building. The reconfiguration of the library space will allow its use for library offices and storage of archival material now in the Peabody Library.

The Huitt Zollar architecture firm of Houston was hired to design a renovation to the Estill Classroom Building for use by the internal auditor and registrar offices, with an expected cost of $400,000. That space will become available when the history department moves into the new classroom/office building.

The BRW company of College Station was hired to design exterior campus signage in the form of way finding, directional street signage, parking lot signage and information kiosks, at a cost of $500,000. "The present exterior signage is too little, worn out and incomplete from a directional standpoint," Gaertner told the regents. "The university wants to put forth a better image to our students and visitors, including those with disabilities."

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