Friday, August 30, 2002

Today@Sam: Regents Approve $40 Million for New Buildings

Plans for Sam Houston State University projects, improvements, and equipment totaling more than $40 million were approved Friday by the university's board of regents, as well as a new degree and the division of a department.
  • Employment of C. F. Jordan, Limited Partners of College Station to design and build the Bearkat Village I and Bearkat Village II apartment style student housing project, at an expected cost of $15 million. The project at the intersection of Bowers Boulevard and Montgomery Road will be the first residence halls constructed since 1962, and will replace several residence halls demolished in recent years because of poor condition or to make room for other structures.
  • Employment of F & S Partners, Inc. of Dallas to design a recreation center with a project cost estimated at $6.7 million. It will include a 40,000 square foot addition to provide a new indoor/outdoor swimming pool, weight room, multipurpose room and basketball court. One possible configuration is to connect the addition to the southwest corner of the present Health/Kinesiology Building.
  • Employment of Graeber, Simmons & Cowan Architects, Inc. of Austin to design a 32,500 square foot addition to the Smith-Hutson Business Building, with an estimated project cost of $5.8 million. The College of Business Administration has experienced a growth rate of 40 percent over the past five years and projects an additional growth rate of 4 percent per year for the next 10 years. The college is now housed in three buildings and will consolidate into the present Smith/Hutson Building and the planned annex.
  • Employment of C. P. Snider Construction Company, Inc. of Austin to design and build a 300-400 vehicle parking structure just north of the Lowman Student Center, at an expected cost of $4.5 million. The facility is expected to provide additional campus parking on a daily basis as well as badly needed parking for events in the student center.
  • Approval of the demolition of the Baseball Indoor Practice Facility, which had previously been used as a vehicle maintenance shop, near Holleman Field, at a cost not to exceed $50,000. The board previously approved the sale of $4 million in bonds for construction of a baseball, softball, and dressing room complex in the Bowers Stadium area. Details of that project await further approval by the regents as well as the coordinating board.
  • Employment of Brown Reynolds Watford Architects of College Station to design a 5,000 square foot South Campus Dining Facility, at an expected cost of $2 million. SHSU has no dining facility on the south side of the campus. "The existence of 10 south-side residence halls with approximately 600 residents and the hundreds of commuter students parking on the south side justifies a need for this facility," Gaertner told the regents.
  • Employment of PDG Architects, Inc. of Houston to design a 5,500 to 6,000 square foot addition to the southwest corner of the Teacher Education Center at an expected cost of $1 million. The space will be needed as the result of approval for the College of Education and Applied Science to offer a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Education.
  • Employment of Huitt-Zollars, Inc. of Houston to design a Visitors' Center, at an expected cost of $900,000. The Visitors' Center will provide a location for visitors and prospective students to obtain directions or information about the campus, and will be built near the intersection of Sam Houston Avenue and Bowers Boulevard (20th Street). It will include areas for receiving visitors, several private conference areas, offices and support space for staff.
  • Approval of preliminary plans for renovation of the Estill Classroom Building, prepared by Huitt-Zollars, Inc. of Houston, at an expected cost of $600,000. With relocation of the Department of History to the new classroom/office building in the spring of 2003, the new space on the southeast corner of the second floor and north side of the third floor will provide space for the payroll and registrar offices.
  • Approval of preliminary plans for exterior campus signage prepared by Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, Inc. of College Station, at an expected cost of $500,000. The project will include exterior signage for way finding, directional street signage, parking ot signage, and information kiosks. "Our current system of signage requires updating and modern sign systems will contribute to both our recruitment and retention efforts," said Gaertner.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Today@Sam: President Discusses Campus Progress and Plans

Sam Houston State University President James Gaertner outlined last year's progress and talked about future plans at the university's general faculty and staff meeting on Tuesday morning in Killinger Auditorium.

He also announced plans for campus improvements that are currently in various stages of approval. Among those improvements are a renovation of the Farrington Building which houses chemistry and physics, the construction of a 550-bed residence facility near Bowers Stadium, an addition to the Health and Kinesiology Building which would include a swimming pool, an addition to the Smith-Hutson Building, the construction of a dining facility on the south side of campus, enlargement of the Teacher Education Center, construction of new baseball and softball facilities to include dressing areas, the addition of a three-level parking structure with 450 spaces, upgrading exterior and interior signage, and the construction of a campus visitor's center which would feature state-of-the-art technology.

Gaertner also addressed the proposal to rebuild Old Main, the long-standing university landmark which was destroyed by fire in 1982.

"At this time, I will say that the idea is under serious consideration," Gaertner said. "It would be a wonderful lead item in a capital campaign, and I'm currently listening to comments and concerns that are being made about the idea," he said. "Those who have questioned the feasibility of rebuilding Old Main are concerned that the building would not be identical to the original structure," Gaertner explained. "There are also concerns that the new building would overshadow Austin Hall, which many consider as the authentic historic building on campus," he said. Gaertner said that he had spoken with architects and the general idea is to rebuild with an exterior that is identical to the original building, and have a modern interior for use as an educational facility.