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.

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