Sunday, December 5, 2004

Gintz Demolition Extended, Students Given New Option

From Today@Sam:
Sam Houston State University has extended the demolition schedule for the Gintz Family Apartments by 10 days, with a move-out date of June 10 instead of June 1, and the university will have space available for displaced residents in another campus housing unit.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Administration Addresses Gintz Demolition

From the Houstonian:
In a meeting yesterday with residents of Gintz Family Apartments, university officials attempted to address some of the concerns raised by tenants who were informed weeks earlier of the upcoming demolition of their current home.

Houstonian: Farrington to undergo more renovations

From the Houstonian:
The Farrington building will get more of a facelift than originally anticipated. Barlett Cocke Contractors was awarded an $18 million contract on Nov. 19. $2.5 million will go toward further renovation of the 45-year-old building.

Barlett Cocke Contractors has worked extensively within the academic and medical community. They were able to present a bid that was $3 million under what was expected for the construction of a new science building and renovation of one-quarter of the Farrington Building. The savings will provide the funds needed for the renovation of the entire building.

The renovations are planned for the Christmas and summer breaks. Construction began in March 2004 on the building to be the new home to the chemistry and forensic science departments. The work on the construction of the 62,000-square foot science building is expected to be complete by May 2005. Renovations to Farrington should be completed by January 2006, which will continue to house the physics department.

The original cost of the Farrington Building when it was built in 1959 was $2.5 million. "There was originally a small observatory on the roof that was used for astronomy classes but an increase of light from the expanding university and community eventually made the telescope obsolete," according to
Hey, that's us....

Gintz Demolition Addressed By Administration

Sam Houston State University officials announced Monday that the demolition schedule for the Gintz Family Apartments has been extended by 10 days, and the university will have space available for displaced residents in another campus housing unit. The move out date has been set for June 10 instead of June 1.

The announcement came at a meeting called to address some of the concerns raised by tenants who were informed weeks earlier of the upcoming demolition of their current home. James Gaertner, university president, said that demolition of the Gintz Apartments would take place immediately following the end of the Spring 2005 semester.

"It is our intention, and we are quite certain that this is going to happen, that we will demolish the Gintz Apartments this summer," said Gaertner. "At present it looks like they will be demolished after June 10."

The move out date has been postponed from its original date of June 1, as Heather Thielemann, vice president for enrollment management, said that the university wanted to "be aware of when Huntsville ISD lets out and so that [students] are done with finals to give [them] time to move."

The university has worked to provide assistance to the residents of Gintz who may be having problems finding suitable, affordable living arrangements.

" The options that we have worked out at this time, are for families to move over to Colony Apartments," said Gaertner. "There will be an increase in rent of about $100 a month but you would be able to live in Colony for the year."

Thielemann said that the rent increase is necessary because that is the rate charged to students already living in Colony.

Gaertner stated the demolition of Gintz is timely and necessary.

" The reason for doing it, I think, is obvious. The apartments are getting to be old and pretty hard to keep up," he said. "They are old enough that when I was a graduate student, my wife and I lived in the Gintz Apartments."

Gaertner said that the university decided the apartments have safety issues because of their age and that their renovation would not be cost effective. And while the university does have plans to replace Gintz with newer housing, there is nothing definite at this time.

"We are not certain about what is going to happen, but it is our intention to build student housing where Gintz is and either somewhere or in close proximity to build some other family housing. We don't have it approved by anyone yet. So we must get the approvals before we can do any of this," said Gaertner.

Thielemann also said that modifications would be made to the Colony Apartments to accommodate families with small children.

" We will put child protective [barriers] on the bottom floors for families who have small children," she said. "The porches will be what you consider childproof as well as a play area with the existing play equipment at Gintz. Those are the things that will be going on, though we have not yet set a start date for them."

Friday, November 19, 2004

$2.5 Million Farrington Renovation Approved

A $2.5 million project to continue renovation of the Farrington Building was approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing board. The Texas State University System Board of Regents took the action during a regular quarterly meeting held in San Marcos. James F. Gaertner, SHSU president, told the regents that Sam Houston State decided initially to renovate only about one-quarter of the Farrington Building, pending receipt of bids on that renovation and construction of a new science building nearby. With a bid savings of approximately $3 million, the university can now afford to renovate the remainder of Farrington. A portion of the work will be done during the upcoming December holidays, and the remainder this coming summer.

The board also authorized the awarding of a contract, prior to the next scheduled board meeting, for construction of a $2.4 million Visitor's Center. If an acceptable bid is received in December, a contract could be awarded in January. The Visitor's Center, located near the Estill Classroom Building, will provide space for greeting visitors, private conference areas, offices and support space for staff, as well as offices for Alumni Relations.

In other business, the board authorized the university to enter into a contract with Dabhi Engineering Associates, Inc. of Katy, to design a backup air conditioning and emergency generator system for the computer server room in Academic Building I. That project is expected to cost about $350,000.

Houstonian: Expansion forcing families to move

From the Houstonian:
Security and safety are two things that everyone wants for their family. But for many of the residents of Gintz Family Apartments on campus, it is something they may soon be deprived of courtesy of university expansion.

Three weeks ago the families of Gintz were informed by Residence Life Director Joellen Tipton that all residents must be vacated by May of 2005 for the demolishing of the complex. It is rumored (though no official word has been given) that the space will then be used for brand new dormitories to compensate for the planned demolishing of Smith-Kirkley Hall. This leaves over 30 families with no options and no place to go.

The biggest complaint that many residents have is the unexpectedness of the announcement and the relatively short span of time between when they were informed and when they will be forced out.

"It's not a surprise to anyone who lives here," said senior Jim Massey, a single father. "What is surprising is that 'wham,' all of a sudden there's talk of demolishing the place, even though it is not anywhere on the two year plan. Gaertner just made the decision that it's going to go in the spring, and then nothing has been decided where the families who are living here are going to go."

Despite repeated efforts to contact officials on various levels, no one from the university was available for comment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Houstonian: HKC expansion makes progress

From the Houstonian:
The HKC is expanding its recreational facilities and the improvements being made are still making progress. However, due to weather conditions, the expected date to finish the project has been pushed back.

"In 2004, we've had more rain than we've ever had, so now we're three months behind schedule," Director of the Department of Recreational Sports Keith Jenkins said. "We're probably looking at early summer for when the project will be specifically done."

Even though many "rain-affected days" have held back construction from its expected completion of early 2005, the concept of the project has not changed from its original parameters and will still include a 10,000-square foot weight and fitness room, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a 34-foot climbing wall, changing rooms, access to indoor track and a new entry and lounge.

"The concept of the building isn't changing, the rain is just pushing it back," Jenkins said. Students are excited about the new additions even though it has taken longer than expected.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Houstonian: COBA lunch discusses new building

From the Houstonian:
The College of Business Administration recently hosted its fall 2004 Student Leader Luncheon in the Lowman Student Center. Some topics covered were occupancy of the Smith-Hudson Building addition, and the upcoming college Career Fair.

Dean of the College of Business Administration Dr. R. Dean Lewis hosted the luncheon. Three officers of COBA were invited to attend. Following a buffet lunch and introductions, the Dean began to discuss current issues and trends that were impacting the college and its future. His first topic was concerning the addition of the Smith-Hudson Building.

"The Smith-Hudson building is expected to be completed by February and we will gradually begin occupying it through spring. There may be a possibility of classes being held there in the summer, and there will definitely be classes in the fall 2005," [Margaret Quarles, Senior Assistant to the Dean] said.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Houstonian: Tour exposes haunted Huntsville sites

From the Houstonian:
There are 45 haunted locations on the Sam Houston State University campus, said Aaron Hoosier, a tour guide for Haunted Huntsville Tours. A spirit actually made its presence known near the administration building on Friday night, he said.

"I lost control of the group. Half of them went running and the other half wanted to go inside the building," said Hoosier, "It was a Class A haunting. That's where a spirit can interact with the environment around it."

Hoosier was with the group that ran and said one girl started screaming. He didn't realize what had happened because he was wrapped up with the tour. "That place terrifies me. It's one of the scariest things in the area," he added.

A lost little boy is said to roam the halls of the administration building and nobody knows why Hoosier said, and that his research revealed some clues but no hard evidence about who the boy might be. His clothing is indicative of the late 1800's or early 1900's.

Hoosier said of the 45 locations he researched, he was able to confirm 25 of them as haunted. "Out of the 25, we picked the six most haunted places on campus for the tour. I was able to document them through newspaper clippings and articles. I did the research but to see the hard evidence has changed my mind about what goes bump in the night at Sam Houston State University."

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Today@Sam: Truth Be Told - A Bearkat is NOT a Kinkajou OR a Binturong

It is almost Homecoming 2004, in the 125th year of Sam Houston State University's existence, and a good time perhaps to clear up at least a half century of confusion about the university mascot.

As loyal Bearkats, we are often asked just what a Bearkat is. Sometimes we give the wrong answer, according to George W. Lantrip, an alum who now works as a research staff member for the Brooks City-Base, formerly Brooks Air Force Base, in San Antonio.

Before we get to Lantrip's comment, one thing must be understood. The best evidence is that the Sam Houston mascot, the "Bearkat," was never intended to be patterned after a real animal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Today@Sam: Staggs Honored At Counseling Center Dedication

Former colleagues and students, as well as current SHSU administrators and faculty, shared fond memories of Jack Staggs and wife Kathleen at the dedication of the Dr. Jack S. Staggs Counseling Clinic on Thursday (Sept. 30) morning. "Sam Houston has been better for his time on campus," one former colleague said. "I can't think of a more appropriate name for the counseling clinic." The clinic is located in the recently-completed Counseling Education Center.

Houstonian: Campus becomes handicap-friendly

From the Houstonian:
Earlier this year, Kelly Rogers had a broken leg and several bones to pick with the university. It was difficult for her to get around campus due to her temporary disability and she wanted something done to change that. Now, looking back over all that has changed this year, she feels that the university should get a pat on the back.

According to a list compiled by Doug Greening, the Physical Plant has made several changes to the campus this year, some of which were due to Rogers' input. The changes include the installation of two compliant door entrances with automatic openers at south end of the Communications Building, new building signage in the Music Building to comply with accessibility guidelines, alterations to the entrance ramp at the Industrial Technology Shop. They also improved sidewalks at the parking garage, along the north side of Bobby K. Marks Drive east of the University Hotel and along Avenue J east of South Paw Dining. Also added were new ramps including one new accessible ramp at west end of mall between Academic Building I and Smith-Hutson Business Building and another at the east side of the construction site between the Library and TEC to help with construction blockage. Finally, the plant designated and re-striped all parking behind Farrington Building for handicapped parking.

"They've done so much in the last six months," she said. "Lots of the changes are ones I suggested or those that someone else did. I don't think I should get credit, but the campus should."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Houstonian: HKC addition brings new amenities

From the Houstonian:
The HKC expansion will be approximately 26,000 sq. feet and will be tied into the existing HKC, allowing flow from one to the other.

The addition will include a 10,000 sq. feet, weight and fitness room, outdoor heated swimming pool equipped with lap lanes, 34 foot climbing wall and boulder, multipurpose room, changing rooms, access to indoor track with a stretching area and a new entry and lounge.

HKC users can stop by the Health and Kinesiology Center to see the construction in action and/or visit Sam's athletic homepage to see the photos of the progress.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Houstonian: Record enrollment causes influx of parking predicaments at SHSU

From the Houstonian:
With a record enrollment of 14,314 students reported last week, it is easy to see why things seem to be getting more crowded around campus. When asking students about their thoughts on the enrollment figures, the echoing concern always seemed to be the parking situation on campus. This is a concern that has been around for a long time.

A quick look across campus will reveal a multitude of construction taking place, such as the addition to the Health and Kinesiology building, a new science building, expansion of the Smith-Hutson Business building and a new baseball/softball complex.

With the addition of a new parking garage on the north side of the campus, the parking situation was helped a little, but taking away numerous spaces due to the construction of the new science building has offset that relief. In spite of this fact, many students do not feel that they should have to pay an additional parking fee on top of the $45 price tag of the parking sticker required to park on any campus lots.

The addition of new parking facilities would be an ideal solution, but as one can see by looking around the campus, there is no where to put them. The University is busy trying to expand its classroom counts to have room for the influx of new students, and there is not any great expanse close to or on campus to put a vast parking lot or another parking garage, for that matter.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Houstonian: New complex brings excitement to SHSU sports

From the Houstonian:
A new facility is being built at the corner of Bowers Blvd and Sycamore for the Sam Houston State baseball and softball teams.

Construction began on the $5.5 million complex in December 2003. A new baseball park, softball field, locker rooms, indoor hitting cages, lighting, and coaches offices are some of the features of the new facility.

The new baseball field has a seating capacity of 1,200 while the new softball field has a seating capacity of 600. The Bearkats previously played at Holeman Field which has a seating capacity of 700.

The biggest upgrade of the new complex over the old ones is the addition of lights. While most of the softball and baseball games were scheduled during the day, the teams can now play at night and play doubleheaders. With the improved facilities, the Bearkats are hoping to host regional and Southland conference tournaments. Two of those upgrades are the new press box and concession area.

The new complex still does not have a name. The teams are hoping to move into the complex spring 2005.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Today@Sam: Panoramic Photo Scheduled for Oct. 12

Sam Houston State University students, faculty and staff are invited to have their picture taken with thousands of their closest friends while celebrating the university's 125th birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at noon on Intramural Field No. 2.

Events include the opportunity to be in a historic photo, and to have a piece of an eight foot wide birthday cake.

The last panoramic photo was taken on Oct. 10, 1978 where the Health and Kinesiology Center now stands to kick off events associated with Sam Houston State's 100th birthday. Paul Culp, special collections librarian, was one of those whose picture was taken. "I remember that it was hot," he said. "And I remember that some of the fraternity boys were trying to run from one side of the group to the other side so that they would be in the picture twice."

Group pictures have been a tradition at the university, almost from the beginning. Early pictures show students and faculty in a variety of locations on campus, mostly in front of Old Main or Austin Hall. The president's residence, now the site of the Lowman Student Center, is in the background of the group photo taken in 1920.

Some of the pictures include groups of children from the university's demonstration school. "They wanted to have everyone associated with the campus community in the pictures," said Barbara Kevit-Mason, the university archivist, who cares for the historic photos.

Copies of the university's early group photos, as well as the most recent one, may be viewed in the University Archives, located in Room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library. A copy of the centennial panoramic photo is also on display in the SHSU Public Relations Office in Room 115 of the Administration Building.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Houstonian: Students endangered by 'high' radiation levels

From the Houstonian:
Are the residents of Sam Houston Village at a high risk of getting leukemia or brain cancer? Local entrepreneur and real estate mogul George Russell seems to think so.

According to Russell, the 138kv power lines running parallel to Sam Houston Village and Estill Hall along 16th Street are emitting dangerously high levels of electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiation that have potentially harmful, and even fatal effects.

"In recent years there has been substantiations from various scientific studies that indicate a much higher risk of childhood leukemia, adult leukemia, brain cancer, depression," Russell said. The EMF projected by these power lines is 875 percent higher than the "scientifically proven cancer risk threshold of .4 milligauss" and 17, 500 percent higher than the "prudent" safety level of .2 milligauss, he added. The EMF readings on the floors of Sam Houston Village and Estill Hall closest to the power lines are at 20 and 35 milligauss respectively. Russell also stated this danger could be easily avoided if the city would simply place all power lines underground.

"I have been very concerned and have attempted for 20 years to get the university concerned about the health and welfare of these children," Russell said, claiming the reason for the city and university's negligence as greed and apathy.

"They are interested in tuition and buildings with their name on plaques. Academics are usually the least important thing on their mind. They simply don't care about the health and welfare for their students."

However, SHSU President James Gaertner addressed Russell's accusations.

"There are certain codes and regulations that you have to follow, and we followed every regulation that was in front of us. I am absolutely confident that if the regulations constitute safety, then those dormitories are safe," he said. "Why would we do it? I cannot even fathom why we would put our students at risk. I care about the students and I would never put them [in danger]."

Granted, while Gaertner did not agree with Russell's claims, he did concede to putting into motion an investigation of the matter. "If he thinks that there is some kind of radiation being put out by those power lines, then we will certainly have it checked out," he said.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Houstonian: First floor of Education Center to be renovated

From the Houstonian:
The Teacher Education Center [TEC] of Sam Houston State University is planning on renovating the first floor by next year.

"We are very excited about it," said Dr. Mary Robbins, who is the chair of the Language, Literary and Special Populations Program.

According to the article in Today@Sam, "a preliminary plan for [the] $1 million renovation of the TEC was approved Friday by SHSU's board of regents."

Robbins feels "fortunate to have the university's support" and help in obtaining the money for the buildings renovation. According to Robbins, the TEC building was designed in the 1970s for programs that are no longer in existence. Two of the earlier programs, (Early Childhood Lab School and Young Childhood Special Education Lab School), are no longer offered at SHSU.

The renovation is estimated to begin sometime this spring, and should be finished before the end of summer. All of the work will be done indoors, so the construction team will not have to worry about facing obstacles such as bad weather.

The plans include adding five additional classroom spaces on the first floor. The first floor will be designed to get as much natural lighting as possible. "You feel like you are walking into a dungeon when you walk onto the 1st floor," said Robbins. She explains that half of the floor is underground. "It will be nice to have light," states Robbins. She confirms that the light setting on the 1st floor will also be updated.

Houstonian: Students voice concerns over crosswalk

From the Houstonian:
Looking both ways just isn't cutting it anymore, at least not for the 800-plus students who cross Sam Houston Avenue.

According to Student Government Association Senator Jason Plotkin, he has been receiving a large amount of complaints from students living in Sam Houston Village and Jackson-Shaver Hall who must cross over Sam Houston Avenue from 18th and 17th streets that feel the intersection is unsafe due to the brevity of the crossing lights.

"The problem is you have to cross the street twice just to get to Sam Houston Village," [Freshman Tiffany Hodges] said. "There's no button [for the crossing signal], you just have to wait until the light changes. They should fix the light to allow more people to cross so that people aren't running across."

Plotkin hopes through cooperation with City Councilman Mack Woodward and City Manager Kevin Evans that both short and long-term solutions will be found to this growing concern.

"Obviously [the number of students crossing that intersection] is a lot more than [we are] used to having at the intersection," said Woodward. "We're working to find some long term and short term solutions to this problem, but obviously you can't changes overnight." Woodward explained that one of the problems in dealing with a situation like this is in routing responsibility as Sam Houston Avenue is also Highway 75, thus putting it under the jurisdiction of not only the city but the state as well.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Houstonian: Gaertner honors faculty, looks to future growth

From the Houstonian:
SHSU President James Gaertner gave the equivalent of a State of the Union address at the yearly staff and faculty meeting last Friday, highlighting the past year as well as what is to come for the university.

Gaertner gave some positive numbers, citing enrollment is ready to "burst through 14, 000 students," a record number for enrollment with 800 new students.

He then touched on the more aesthetic happenings on campus, discussing the many ongoing construction projects currently underway. "Over a 42 month period, beginning in the fall of 2002 and into the end of 2005, we will have over $100 million dollars worth of new buildings," he said, going to answer the inevitable question of "how is it all going to be paid for?" The "four simple ways" that Gaertner outlined for the payment of the construction included the buildings paying for themselves (in the cases of Bearkat Village, Sam Houston Village, and the Sam Houston Parking Garage), bonds, the university's personal savings account and various student fees.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Houstonian: SHSU's newest living facility has incoming freshmen 'excited' about dorm life

From the Houstonian:
Freshman moving into Sam Houston Village this weekend had to watch the walls as the paint just finished drying. Construction workers finished in the nick of time, just barely meeting the deadline allowing students to move in on schedule.

"It wasn't 100 percent complete when we wanted it to be, but it was finished for the most part and students were allowed to move in on Friday," said Joellen Tipton, director of Residence Life.

The new facility is the latest addition to SHSU's dormitory life with a layout similar to that of the recently erected Bearkat Village. Each apartment style suite includes two separate bedrooms and a living area (complete with sink and microwave). The suites lack the cooking amenities (i.e. the stove and full-size refrigerator) of Bearkat Village as Sam Houston Village is freshman exclusive and they are still required to have a meal plan.

Students so far have little to no complaints about the facility, though Gilbert commented that "a pool table in the lobby would be nice, to try and get people to hang out."

Tipton also commented that Sam Houston Village has been a big help in bringing people into the school. "It's been a good recruiting tool [for the university]. Everybody at orientation was interested in it, what it looked like and they all wanted to see it even when we couldn't get it in to see it," she said. "I know that [the admissions office] talked about it a lot, Dr. Gaertner talked about it a lot. It's new housing and that's something that we have been badly needing."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Today@Sam: 125th Anniversary Bobble Head Dolls Now Being Sold

The Barnes and Noble University Bookstore will be selling Sammy Bearkat bobble head dolls in honor of SHSU’s 125th anniversary.

The dolls are approximately 6.5 inches tall, wear an SHSU jersey with 04 on the front, and have the 125th anniversary logo in front.

They can be purchased for $14.98 while supplies last, according to Keri Rogers, associate dean and director of the First Year Experience program, who served on the memorabilia subcommittee of the 125th anniversary steering committee.

Rogers said other universities have created bobble head dolls from their mascots, and the memorabilia subcommittee thought it was a good idea.

“My undergraduate institution had done them, and they were so cute that I took the idea to the committee,” she said. “We wanted to do something that the students would like, that we could put in the bookstore and that was affordable.”

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Today@Sam: Health Center Relocates To Estill Hall Parking Lot

Due to facility renovations, the SHSU Student Health Center will be temporarily housed in modular buildings in the Estill Hall parking lot, located behind the current facility, during the fall semester.

The interior renovations are scheduled for completion by summer 2005, according to Health Center director Keith Lott. "I eagerly anticipate having a facility that reflects the quality of the services and programs that we provide to the students," Lott said. "The inconvenience of moving and operating from a temporary location will be well worth it on the day that we move back into a completely renovated facility."

Other than the relocation of the department, no major changes to services are expected, Lott said.

During the summer, the air conditioning and heating system, along with the ceiling and lighting, were replaced.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Regents Approve Preliminary Plan for Renovation

Today@Sam reports that a preliminary plan for a $1 million renovation of the Teacher Education Center was approved Friday by the Texas State University System Board of Regents.

The preliminary plan prepared by PDG Architects of Houston is for the renovation of the first floor of the Teacher Education Center for use by the Language, Literacy and Special Populations program. The Teacher Education Center was built in 1976, and the first floor was originally designed for laboratory schools for pre-kindergarten, children with disabilities, and speech therapy programs. None of those programs currently exist and the space is not functional for use by other programs.

In other business, the board authorized the university to sell five lots of undeveloped real estate located in Texas City with an estimated value of $12,813. The property was given to the university as a gift in August 2003 from Ronald P. Mafrige. The proceeds from the sale will go into the existing Ron Mafrige Endowment Fund at the university that will support scholarships and enrichment programs for the College of Business Administration.

Sunday, May 9, 2004

Today@Sam: Track Complex Rededicated In Name Of Alumnus, Wife

Miriam York and her family members from across the nation gathered in front of the recently rededicated "Meredith and Miriam York Track Complex" on May 1. A football and track letterman, the late Meredith York graduated from SHSU in 1935, and he and Miriam became longtime benefactors of the track and field program. York was awarded a plaque in honor of their contributions, which also includes two track and field scholarships established in Meredith's honor, at a ceremony and luncheon when the complex was officially rededicated. The monument is located at the main entrance of Bowers Stadium.

Friday, May 7, 2004

May 2004 Regents Report

Several curriculum changes, including the addition of a Doctor of Education Degree in Literacy Education, were approved Friday by Sam Houston State University's governing board. Today@Sam has a rundown of the changes that the Texas State University System Board of Regents approved during their regular quarterly meeting:
...the board accepted preliminary plans prepared by Huitt-Zollars, Inc. of Houston for the $2.4 million Visitor's Center. The addition to the present Estill Building will be the first stop for campus visitors of many kinds, and will also house the SHSU Alumni Association.

The board also authorized the awarding of a contract for a new East Central Plant chiller, with an estimated cost up to $2.5 million, without full board approval to facilitate the planned construction schedule.

Also approved was the purchase of the Church of Christ Student Center for use by Residence Life, and the $55,000 demolition of the Gidley House, which is not being used because of its poor structural condition.

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today@Sam: Gibbs Students Become A Part Of History

"You'll be a part of history," Sam Houston IV, great-grandson of Sam Houston, told fourth graders from Gibbs Elementary School Thursday afternoon.

Four classes of students and Houston helped plant a "Stephen F. Austin" live oak tree that was grown from acorns found on land Austin led in settling in West Columbia, Texas, also the site of his death on Dec. 27, 1836. A friend of Houston's purchased the land and grew approximately 600 trees from the acorns that were confirmed by the Texas Forestry Service as having been on Austin's land while he was living. Trees have been planted for the past nine years on every courthouse square in Texas, all schools bearing Austin's name, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University, and now at SHSU in the front yard of Houston's Woodland Home on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Grounds. "I can't think of a better person to have a tree named after on the Sam Houston grounds," Houston said.

For more on the Sam Houston/Stephen F. Austin relationship, see Today@Sam's Houston & Austin: The Men.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Today@Sam: Governor Perry Commemorates 125th Anniversary

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a document April 21 commending Sam Houston State University for 125 years of educational service to Texas and the nation. "You highlight the best of the Lone Star State," the document stated. Perry participated in an afternoon ceremony attended by hundreds on the SHSU quadrangle near Austin Hall.

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Houstonian: Archaeologist digs for artifacts on SHSU Riverside grounds

From the Houstonian:
An archaeologist and alumnus of Sam Houston State University is conducting an archaeological dig on 345 acres of SHSU property near Riverside.

President [James] Gaertner hopes to turn the property into a university camp or retreat area like many other universities have. Before any developments can be made, however, a review is needed because of laws that protect pieces of land containing historical artifacts. Jenkins said that in the past, there were many Native American tribes in this particular area that had sites that they frequented along the Trinity River.

Mac Woodward, curator of collections at the Sam Houston Museum, said most of the tribes were Caddoan and there were different subgroups or bands within that group. Hasanai is another tribe that possibly inhabited the area.

"It's possible these sites could go back five or 10,000 years," Woodward said.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice originally owned the land and transferred it to SHSU. Sandra Rogers, an archaeological steward with the Texas Historical Commission, said there was a site identified within the property as a possible archeological landmark in the 60s or 70s.

"That's by virtue of someone who had found some artifacts that showed there might have been some Native American activity at some point. Potentially, something is there," Woodward said.

The Texas Historical Commission has only designated a portion of the 345 acres of SHSU property as having historical significance, but Jenkins said they are still reviewing the entire piece of property just to be careful.

Moore has yet to complete the archaeological dig. Once the dig is finished, Moore will submit a report to the University Camp Committee at SHSU and the Texas Historical Commission, followed by a final report to the University Camp Committee.

Houstonian: Sam Houston clears path for bell tower

From the Houstonian:
The demolition of the brick planter box located near the Bobby K. Marks Administration building is to make way for a bell tower.

The bell tower will stand approximately 50 feet tall with either a base of 12 by 12 feet or 14 by 14 feet. Four gothic arches will open the bell tower to the surrounding walkways. [Frank Holmes, vice president for University Advancement,] explained that four medallions will be placed on each side of the tower. "Two sides will bear the 'SH' logo, and the other two sides will bear the traditional 'Sam Houston' logo," said Holmes. The bell tower will be constructed of the same brick used across campus; Holmes said the brick is known as Sam Houston State brick. "It will be a very traditional-looking bell tower," Holmes said.

The bell tower won't contain any cast bells at this time. New Caroline bells will be placed in the bell tower and will be computer controlled. "The New Caroline's will provide a great deal of flexibility," said Holmes.

The bell tower will be underway once the design plans are finalized. Holmes explained that Parker wanted the site prepared so that as soon as the plans are approved, the base of the tower can begin being constructed immediately.

The bell tower could be completed in as quickly as 120 to150 days, Holmes said. "A lot of the framework can be assembled off-site while the base is being built on campus," said Holmes. The cost of the bell tower has not been determined yet, due to an un-finalized design concept. However, Holmes said that they hope the cost will be well under $200,000. "The desired amount would be around $170,000," said Holmes.

The bell tower would not have been possible without the generous gift from an alumnus. Kevin Hayes, the director of Alumni Relations, said, "a generous gift was given to the university by Ruth and Ron Blatchley." The bell tower will be synchronized with the clock in the alumni garden, also a gift from the Blatchleys. "They feel very confident with what we are doing, and what we want to do," said Hayes.

Holmes explained that in the future there are plans to expand the area next to the Lowman Student Center to include more planter boxes and meandering pathways. In regard to the bell tower at this time, Holmes said, "I think it will add a great deal of warmth to the campus."

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Today@Sam: SHSU Awarded For Cabin Preservation

SHSU University president James F. Gaertner accepted the Annual Preservation Award for SHSU's part in the restoration of the Roberts-Farris Cabin at a ceremony on Tuesday (April 6) morning. Cheryl Patton, representing the Walker County Historical Commission, also presented the awards to Maggie Farris Parker, owner of the Roberts-Farris Cabin, and Linda Pease, cultural services coordinator for the City of Huntsville. Also in attendance were Maxie Farris, Maggie's brother, and Dr. Caroline Castillo-Crimm, SHSU associate professor of history whose two Texas history classes moved the cabin to its present location and helped rebuild it. The award is given by the Texas State Historical Commission to honor those who make contributions to preservation for their efforts. The cabin, believed to be the oldest in Walker County, is located just east of the Walker County Courthouse.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Today@Sam: April Fool at the 'Normal' - 1885

When students at what was then Sam Houston Normal Institute decided to have a little fun with the faculty on April 1, 1885, they planned a smashing "April fool."

But when it came to having fun back then, the Normal students were a bit timid--the result perhaps of strict standards of conduct. Dancing, drinking, and card playing were all grounds for suspension.

The April fool incident, and other details of campus life, are described by Ty Cashion in a soon-to-be-completed history of Sam Houston State University, being written for this year's celebration of the university's 125th birthday.

Cashion, associate professor of history, uncovered the April fool story in letters written by J. J. Rushing, a student from the Shelby County community of Tomday on the Sabine River in deepest East Texas.

Rushing wrote that "almost every student in school"--which was about 300 most semesters--decided that when they marched out of morning chapel services that April 1 they would "march on home" instead of going to class.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Today@Sam: Dan Rather to Return for 125th Anniversary Celebration

Dan Rather will return to Sam Houston State University April 16 to launch the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the school that helped launch his career more than a half century ago.

Rather, anchor and managing editor for the CBS Evening News, and correspondent for 60 Minutes II, will meet with students and speak at the 125th Anniversary President's Dinner and Concert.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Today@Sam: Governor Perry to Make SHSU 125th Anniversary Visit

Gov. Rick Perry will help Sam Houston State University celebrate its 125th anniversary April 21.

Perry has agreed to speak at a ceremony marking a historic event for the university--the signing of Sam Houston Normal Institute's charter document by Gov. Oran M. Roberts in 1879.

The ceremony will be held on the south side of Austin Hall (near the General Sam Houston statue) at 4:30 p.m., followed by a public reception.

Austin Hall is the oldest in-use educational facility west of the Mississippi. It was dedicated in 1851 with General Sam Houston in attendance, and bought by Huntsville citizens for use by Sam Houston Normal Institute, the first teacher-training institution in the Southwest.

"We are honored Governor Perry has agreed to join us for our 125th anniversary," said James F. Gaertner, SHSU president. "His presence will lend credibility to ceremony and validity to the history of the day."

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Parking on campus gets more complicated

Continuing construction leaves little room for parking, as reported in today’s Houstonian:
Students returning from a restful spring break may find their lives suddenly more hectic when they discover more than 200 parking spaces on campus have vanished.

Beginning on March 22, construction will block off part of the parking lot southwest of Avenue J and Bowers Blvd. for the building of the new science complex. The parking lot, currently the second largest green permit lot on campus, recently had a temporary Barnes and Noble store at the location where the new building will be located.

The new project marks the latest new construction effort that will offer more teaching facilities at the cost of parking spaces. [Colonel Dennis Culak, assistant director of the university's public safety services,] said that construction near White Hall ended up costing nearly half of the spaces for the Health and Kinesiology Center.

Along with students, Culak added that faculty and staff also have complained about loss of their parking spaces with construction behind the Smith-Hutson Business Building.

The cost of the new science facility will be $18 million, and the complex will feature 60,000 square feet of workspace. The new building will house the chemistry and forensic science programs, with physics remaining in the Farrington Building.

John McCroskey, the assistant director for facilities and construction, said the new complex will take up even more spaces than what was lost when the Barnes and Noble store was located at that spot. He said the location was chosen due to its proximity to the existing science building.

"There was no other location adjacent to the Farrington Building," McCroskey said.

The project is being funded by a tuition revenue bond authorized by the Texas State Legislature, and construction will begin by mid-April. The facility will be built by the Houston office of Bartlett-Cocke General Contractors. McCroskey said the construction site will be closed following spring break to avoid any parking issues leading up to the start of the project.

"If we don't block the lot off now, we'll never get all the cars out of there," he said. He expects the building to be completed by December of 2005.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Today@Sam: South Paw Makes Grand Opening

The South Paw dining facility, which began operation on Feb. 9, made its grand opening on March 3 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included SHSU administrators, staff and students, as well as members of the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce. The hours of the facility, which houses Home Zone, Java City, Pizza Hut Express and Subway, are: Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Regents approve reorganization, rate increases

Information from the recent Board of Regents meeting in today’s Houstonian:

From the Houstonian:
In business relating to facilities, the regents authorized an approval process for the $1.6 million renovation of the Estill Hall dormitory that will allow work to begin in May with completion prior to the 2005 spring semester. The board's chairman and either vice chairman or local committee chairman were authorized to award the construction contract, which is usually done by the board as a whole. Design work was not completed in time for that to happen at this week's meeting.

The board did award a contract to Bartlett Cocke General Contractors of San Antonio for an $18 million renovation to the present Farrington Building and construction of a new 61,732-square-foot science building. The new facility will house the chemistry and forensic science programs, while physics will remain in the Farrington Building. Completion is expected by late spring of 2005.

Also approved was the addition of a $1.2 million auditorium for the Smith-Hutson Business Building expansion. A planned auditorium was eliminated from the bidding process when it was thought that it would be too costly. After lower than expected bids were received, it was determined that the auditorium could be included.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Today@Sam: Science Building To Take Parking Spaces

While parking is still available on the Sam Houston State University campus, it is not as convenient as it once was, and it is getting scarcer with each new construction project.

This is the word from Dennis Culak, assistant director for the university's public safety services division. Culak said that some students returning from spring break March 22 might find their favorite parking spaces have become part of a new science building.

A portion of the parking lot southwest of Ave. J. and Bowers Blvd., near the new SouthPaw campus dining facility, will be used for the new $18 million, 60,000-square-feet facility. The new facility will house the chemistry and forensic science programs, while physics will remain in the Farrington Building. Completion is expected by late spring of 2005.

Culak said that the Bowers Stadium parking lot has the capacity to provide the needed spaces, and that some students may opt for the new parking garage if they are on campus for a short time. Rates in the parking garage, located just north of the Lowman Student Center, are $2 for the first hour and $1 per hour for each hour after that to a maximum of $8 per 24 hours. Contract spaces are available for $200 per semester.

Culak also suggested that visitors attending fine arts and other events in that area should consider the garage. Additional faculty and staff parking is almost always available in the lot east of the library, he said.

Friday, February 27, 2004

February 2004 Regents Report

Sam Houston State University's regents did their homework for their regular quarterly meeting this week in Beaumont on the three Rs--reorganization, renovations, and rate increases.  Or so said Today@Sam.

In business relating to facilities, the regents authorized an approval process for the $1.6 million renovation of the Estill Hall dormitory that will allow work to begin in May with completion prior to the 2005 spring semester. The board's chairman and either vice chairman or local committee chairman were authorized to award the construction contract, which is usually done by the board as a whole. Design work was not completed in time for that to happen at this week's meeting.

The board did award a contract to Bartlett Cocke General Contractors of San Antonio for an $18 million renovation to the present Farrington Building and construction of a new 61,732-square-foot science building. The new facility will house the chemistry and forensic science programs, while physics will remain in the Farrington Building. Completion is expected by late spring of 2005.

Also approved was the addition of an $1.2 million auditorium for the Smith-Hutson Business Building expansion. A planned auditorium was eliminated from the bidding process when it was thought that it would be too costly. After lower than expected bids were received, it was determined that the auditorium could be included.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Today@Sam: Plans Made to Celebrate Four Historical Occasions

The Walker County Historical Commission, Sam Houston Memorial Museum and the Sam Houston Statue and Visitors’ Center will host a day of activities in honor of four historical occasions on March 2.

The day, which marks Gen. Sam Houston’s birthday, Texas Independence Day Texas Flag Day and Walker County Pioneer Day, will begin with coffee and a reception at Gibbs Powel House Museum, at 1228 11th St., from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

At 10 a.m. a group of students, faculty member and administrators, band members, and others interested in continuing the traditional march to the Sam Houston grave will assemble at the Old Main Memorial area.

James Patton, county clerk and long time Huntsville historian, said that Sam Houston Normal Institute students began such marches in 1889, carrying United States and Texas flags. "This tradition continued through the years, with the president of Sam Houston leading the way in an open automobile through about 1966," Patton said. "In 1981, the Walker County Historical Commission renewed this old tradition and broadened the event."

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Today@Sam: 125th Celebration Impact To Last For Years

Sam Houston has been a great name in Texas education for 125 years, and the celebration of Sam Houston State University's founding will include not only one-time events but ongoing projects that will have an impact for years to come.

The planning to properly mark the inception and accomplishments of the entity that has also been known as Sam Houston Normal Institute, Sam Houston State Teachers College, and Sam Houston State College, began last summer.

That's when a 125th Anniversary Celebration Steering Committee comprised of faculty, administration, students, alumni, retirees, community leaders and friends of the university began work. A number of projects have been initiated as a result of the committee’s efforts.

A re-enactment of the signing of Sam Houston Normal Institute's charter document by Gov. Roberts, is scheduled for the steps of Austin Hall on April 21. Roberts began the first of his two terms as governor in 1879, 20 years after Sam Houston had held the same office.

For more, go to the 125th Anniversary website.

Today@Sam: COBA Breaks New Ground

Sam Houston State University's College of Business Administration broke ground Jan. 27 on an $8.3 million expansion of the Smith-Hutson Business Building. Representatives of the university's board of regents, the architects and contractors, and university officials, dug in to officially kick off the project scheduled for completion in May 2005.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

College to break new ground

The College of Business Administration breaks ground on the expansion to the Smith-Hutson Business Building, notes today’s Houstonian:

The $8.3 million 47,475 square feet structure will add an auditorium, 15 classrooms, 39 faculty offices and two departmental suites to current space. R. Dean Lewis, dean of the College of Business Administration, said the new space scheduled for completion in May 2005 "will match our strong academic program, improve the quality of the educational experience for our students and deliver growth capabilities we currently do not have."

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Today@Sam: COBA To Break New Ground

The College of Business Administration at Sam Houston State University has come a long way since the days of Sam Houston Normal Institute, when business offerings were called "commercial courses."

COBA, as it is now known, has made great strides in curriculum, faculty and respect among peer institutions, culminating in its accreditation in 1996 by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Less than a third of business education programs have received that accreditation.

On Tuesday (January 27) at 9 a.m. COBA will take another great step, with groundbreaking for an expansion to the Smith-Hutson Business Building. The $8.3 million 47,475 square feet structure will add an auditorium, 15 classrooms, 39 faculty offices and two departmental suites to current space.

R. Dean Lewis, dean of the College of Business Administration, said the new space scheduled for completion in May 2005 "will match our strong academic program, improve the quality of the educational experience for our students, and deliver growth capabilities we currently do not have."

Participants in the groundbreaking in addition to Lewis will include Bobby K. Marks, SHSU president emeritus and former COBA dean, President James Gaertner, SHSU regents and university officials, architects, contractors and building committee members.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Houstonian: Five campus construction projects to bring 'extra space' to SHSU

From the Houstonian:
One of the projects is Sam Houston Village, a new dormitory located across the street from Jackson-Shaver with a $19.3 million price tag. Physical Plant Director, Doug Greening, described the rooms as "efficiency apartment style" similar to those found in Bearkat Village, though they will not include a full kitchen. The facility will also include a parking garage underneath the main structure and enough rooms to accommodate 250 students. It is scheduled to open next August.

An addition to the Smith-Hutson Business Building costing $8.3 million will provide more classrooms and offices for use by the College of Business Administration. Greening said that this addition will help "to bring the college under one roof" since they are "scattered around the campus. They really need the extra space." The addition is scheduled to be completed by January 2005.

SouthPaw, a new eating facility located across from Academic Building 3 costing $2 million, will feature a Subway, Pizza Hut, Java City and Home Zone. SouthPaw is in its final stages of completion and is scheduled for an early February opening.

The two final projects are the $1.4 million addition to the Teacher Education Center that will open in the spring of 2005 and a $6.7 million addition to the Health and Kinesiology Center (HKC). The addition to the Teacher Education Center will feature a new counseling facility where counselors can, according to Greening, "interact with their clients and also view them by camera or by one-way mirror."

"[The HKC addition] will have an outdoor pool that will probably not be covered, a climbing wall and expanded weights facility," said Greening. "We're hoping to have an end of the year or early 2005 opening."