Saturday, May 31, 2003

In Memoriam: Elliott T. Bowers

Elliott Bowers, the ninth president of Sam Houston State University, died May 30, 2003 in Huntsville.

Bowers served as president from 1970 until his retirement in 1989. Major facilities completed under his administration included the Teacher Education Center, Johnson Coliseum, University Theatre Center, Beto Criminal Justice Center, Rather Communication Building, Drain Academic Building and mall, the Health and Physical Education Building, Bearkat Stadium and field house, and the Music Building.

Bearkat Stadium was renamed Bowers Stadium in his honor and the street that runs just south of it was named Bowers Boulevard. He was also honored with the title president emeritus when he retired.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Today@Sam: Alum Group Seeks Organ Restoration Funds

The Sam Houston State University Alumni Association is seeking donations to restore an 1894 MP Moller, Inc., organ that is being stored in the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

Preliminary estimates range between $40,000 and $50,000 for the restoration, which would include refabricating and replacing pieces of the organ and reassembling it, according to Mac Woodward, curator of collections at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

The organ was originally purchased to be installed in the Old Main Building and not only is significant to the university, but has historical significance as well. "Old Main had an assembly room upstairs on the top floor, like a big auditorium room, and the organ was installed in that. So, it was the first organ installed in an academic building west of the Mississippi River," Nolan said.

After the area in Old Main was needed for other purposes, the organ was moved to St. Stephens Episcopal Church and subsequently moved to the museum. The organ resided in the west wing until the area was redone.

Friday, May 9, 2003

May 2003 Regents Report

Sam Houston State University's board of regents approved preliminary plans for $30 million in construction projects this week during their regular quarterly meeting, according to Today@Sam:
The largest of the four construction projects is an $18 million 60,000 square feet science facility that was first planned as an addition to the present Farrington Building, but which is now planned for the corner of Ave. J and Bowers Boulevard. The new facility will house the chemistry and forensic science programs, while physics will remain in the Farrington Building. Construction is expected to begin in about February 2004 with completion in late spring of 2005. Under the approved plans prepared by Watkins Hamilton Ross Architects, Inc. of Houston, the first floor of the Farrington Building will also be renovated. The second and third floor Farrington renovations will be deferred until funds become available.

The regents also approved preliminary plans prepared by F&S Partners of Dallas for the $6.7 million Recreational Sports Building to be attached to the present Health and Kinesiology Building.

"The construction of a new Recreational Sports building is one of the more exciting new facilities in the planning process for our campus in that it will impact so many students who are involved in intramurals and fitness activities," said Keith Jenkins, assistant dean of students. "It will create a whole new dynamic use of the existing facility let alone the new features."

The building will include a 10,000 square feet open area weight room complete with free weights, cardio, and circuit workout machines. Another feature of the new facility will be a heated pool. The existing outdoor swimming pool will be removed. he pool will be designed so that lap swimming and aquatic programming can take place simultaneously. The lap pool will have four lanes with a length of 25 yards and a separate body of water will be used for programs such as water aerobics and innertube water polo. The swimming facility will be covered but will be designed so that the sides can be removed during the summer months. Completing the design will be a sun deck and a separate covered area for socials.

Sam Houston State had an indoor pool for many years, located in the basement of the Lowman Student Center. However, it had continuous equipment breakdowns and was not popular because of the lack of outside exposure. That pool area was converted into a ballroom in the recent student center renovation.

"Attaching the new facility to the existing Health and Kinesiology Building will offer a complete recreational facility for the student body and the entire university community," said Jenkins.

"In 1989 when the student body voted to establish a designated recreation fee, the construction of this type of facility was one of the most requested projects for student use," he said. "The reason being is that the most popular non academic student program on campus was experiencing phenomenal growth and overcrowding in the HKC. Under Dr. Gaertner's leadership, the dream is about to become a reality."

Construction is expected to begin in early 2004 with completion in about one year.

Approval of the preliminary plans drawn up by LAN/Leo A. Daly architects of Houston for the new $4 million baseball and softball facilities means that night games can be played at Sam Houston, which is expected to be a boost for both programs.

Additional features of the new complex to be built east of Bowers Stadium include offices for baseball and softball coaches, an indoor practice facility and weight room, dressing rooms, concessions stands, restrooms, and press box.

The preliminary plans call for seating for 1,000 for baseball and 400 for softball. Construction could begin in the late fall with completion prior to the 2005 baseball season. The new baseball/softball complex represents an improvement in the facilities for both sports, according to Bobby Williams, SHSU athletic director.

The current baseball and softball fields are located away from the main campus. In addition to their lack of lighting, they have no dressing rooms and minimal press box, concession, and rest room facilities.  Gaertner has announced that the new project will also be known as Holleman Field, the name of the present baseball field, in honor of long time SHSU administrator Dewitte Holleman.

The regents also awarded a construction contract to Stephens Construction Services of Texas City for the $1.4 million addition to the Teacher Education Center. The 7,100 square feet addition will provide space for a counseling clinic and offices for the university's new doctorate in counselor education.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Houstonian: SGA visits Austin

From the Houstonian:
The Student Government Association traveled to Austin April 27-28 to bring attention to the issues of the name changes, affirmative action and deregulation of tuition practices, along with several other issues, with various politicians.

One of the main issues the 21 members discussed was the Senate Bill 928, which concerns the possibility of the name change for many universities in Texas. The students spoke with Texas State University System Chancellor Lamar Urbanovsky, who SGA Secretary Jason Plotkin said is opposed to the name change. Despite the opposition, it seems unlikely SHSU's name will stay the same if Southwest Texas State University receives a name change.

"In order to make all schools in the system equal, all names in the system would have to change," Plotkin said.

Plotkin said in the event of the name change, Southwest Texas would become the de facto flagship school in the system because "perception is major," and most people would perceive the school as the flagship

"We're a unique system in the fact that there is no flagship," Plotkin said. "The chancellor did say that if there was a name change, the names of Lamar and Sam Houston would stay intact one way or another because of their historical namesakes."